I can imagine even as a kid in the Reagen (sic) years, it would have been considered an incredible service to fill out a post card with a research query, send it out to some no-name town in California, and in a month or so, receive a packet of sourced information from around the world on your topic, for free.
Why isn’t there an iPhone app that lets you copy videos from a Mac app that would encode them to mp4 on the fly, skipping iTunes?
I can’t believe I’ve had Twhirl and Photoshop open for days. And they told me buying RAM for my old Mac was a waste.
I consider this close enough to relieve me of my idea of a site tracking the accuracy of [Apple] rumor mongerers.
I’ve always been fascinated by the… uh, the illustration thing where lines get thicker and thinner and you see a picture and I know it has a name but can’t remember it right now, you know what I mean? I remember seeing a giant mesh portrait hanging from the ceiling of the Centre Pompidou when I was young, and it stuck with me.
So here’s an application that does those kind of illustrations, plus other vectorization possibilities (with letters and symbols of all types), with a lot of powerful customization options, and it’s extremely cheap for what it does.
An absolute must-have.
The new frequently visited sites page […] will remember when you use each site during the day, then custom tailor that page to show only those sites. As Raskin described it, this will keep you from seeing some of the “late night” sites you visit when firing up your browser to read news stories and check e-mail in the morning.
Nice idea. (How do you transition from one timeframe to another, though?)
Want want want want want. (Although the videos aren’t particularly well staged. You should see fingers to have a clue what’s going on, and they should show the keyboard, not just use it off-screen.)
Considering how much slower building an application is on my iMac G5 than my Mini Intel, I’m not sure I want to, but it’s nice to know you can.
Once again, want.
The rounded corners everywhere make the iPhone look so much older, and I like the way universal search works — wherever you are on the main screen, you just start using the keyboard and the results pop pu. Which makes me realize that the arrival of Spotlight as a pane of the iPhone’s Home screen could be another sign that it’s going to sprout a sliding keyboard, and Spotlight would work exactly that way. It would suddenly make much more sense that 3.0’s Springboard would be utterly unmodified, save for the addition of Spotlight and a couple more app pages, if you only have to slide the keyboard out and hit a couple keys to quicksilverize your way around the iPhone.
Or, you know, maybe not.
I had doubts before I knew how it was going to work, but it’s really a pretty clever way to piggyback on the resurgence of tinyurls while boosting Digg in the process. Elegant (with the “Always hide” option) and convenient (with view stats, and the excellent way you create a Digg URL just add digg.com/ in front of the http).
’tis the year of whoring out your Twitter account.
You wouldn’t know it, because the Iconfactory is all about teh pretty and not that much about teh usability, but if you’re using Twitterific on your Mac you can filter tweets… by setting a preference through Terminal. Guess they haven’t got around to creating an interface to handle those preferences yet, which is a shame, because filtering some tags becomes more and more essential to surviving Twitter.
For instance, this seems to work, filtering out the weekly avalanche of tweets about the French version of Pop Idol:
defaults write com.iconfactory.Twitterrific tweetTextFilter -string "#(NS|ns|nouvellestar)"
Next time I open Terminal it will probably be to filter out all tags. (In case you had doubts, it’s a regexp.)
Oh, and twitpic.com.
And maybe even http.
God, they’re really desperate to do something relevant with that technology. (As they should, because it’s cool technology!) Yeah, I can totally see the felinity. Or not.
The Brightkite iPhone app requires registration. Fail, or do people actually use it and I should try?
Hate to say it, but from a cursory glance at a screenshot it looks like Seesmic Desktop might be the Twitter client I’m looking for.
That picture with the eight green lights is as good as porn. Drool.
La page et les données App Store de l’appli Web is Pink sont en ligne… Plus qu’à finir de débugger et uploader l’application.
In Digg’s efforts to keep you swimming in their stream, they completely obscure the original URL you’re supposed to be looking at. And no, not just the URL you follow from a particular Digg on their site — all the URLs you visit (via clicks) until you kill the bar. Additionally, if you’re browsing around a site under the bar itself and you kill it, it transports you back to the original URL you landed on, thus completely breaking continuity and making it almost impossible to know where you’ve actually browsed to.
That’s the first sensible argument I’ve seen against the DiggBar — i.e., not from a whiny egotic blogger who doesn’t want his precious URL obscured, but from the standpoint of caring about the end user’s experience.
I used to have a <base target=”_top”> in my headers at some point; that’s a quite sufficient workaround. Not that I run any risk of ever being dugg.
In our experiments, we varied the size of different types of components (images, stylesheets, and scripts) to determine the maximum cache size for an individual component. We found that if the size of component is greater than 25 KB, the iPhone’s browser does not cache the component. Thus, web pages designed specifically for the iPhone should reduce the size of each component to 25 Kbytes or less for optimal caching behavior.
Translation: Here I go rewriting my iPhone app without JQuery, because it appears that WebKit would be waiting to load the 50KB library again before it displays each new page.
Good thing I was only using the most elementary functions, because I don’t want to overload the iPhone with fancy effects.
P.S. Why on earth isn’t there an iPhone-optimized, less-than-25KB (unzipped) version of JQuery with only the essential functionality?
What [homophobic hacker] Weev says he figured out was a way to trick Internet users into automatically flagging products [as inappropriate] without their knowledge, with the help of friends who run high-profile websites. He also says he hired “third-worlders” to register fake Amazon accounts and flag books.
No developer is safe from letting a CSRF vulnerability creep in. (Didn’t write — or read — about the #amazonfail before because the idea of it didn’t make any sense.)
I don’t know what to make of this. I think @lonelysandwich is a smart guy, so I wonder what’s the strategy about selling an idea pad for Twitter (when it seems like it could have lots of other uses) for three dollars (which is more expensive than the good Twitter clients). There has to be a trick I don’t completely grasp; I’d actually be interested in this if it was $1 and not so Twitter-oriented.
Every time you quit an application that integrates Pinch Media, the following data gets transferred to Pinch Media: iPhone UUID (the unique ID of your iPhone), Iphone Software release, iPod/iPhone version, a timestamp when application usage started, a timestamp when application usage ended and (if you allowed it) the longitude and lattitude values of your position.
The list of applications using Pinch Media is available at the bottom of their home page.
While I agree that it isn’t particularly nefarious (it’s not like Aurora Feint uploading the entire contents of your Address Book), it’s just not right. The iPhone UDID is a private identifier that you have no business passing around the network unless you have a good use for it (such as the upcoming Web is Pink application that lets you sign into the chat without an e-mail or password, simply identified by your UDID). Same thing for geolocation, which also drains the battery faster.
Now that’s a more interesting alternative to desktop management than that stupid, glittery BumpTop. Grape provides what OS X lacks: an infinite desktop you can zoom and pan like a Photoshop document, where you can organize your icons freely and resize them independently.
The beta isn’t really usable right now because it doesn’t offer a lot of functionality that the Finder does, but it’s promising. Now that Apple mouses have a scroll ball, they should be thinking about that kind of stuff.
I think I’m just about to stop using Spaces on my main Mac. Though I still with I had a second screen.
If you’ve read this blog at all in the past few months, you’ve seen how interested I’ve been in the kind of iPhone apps that take your iPhone’s crappy photos and turn them into something… else. Something more interesting and worthy of posting to Flickr, I’d say.
So it should come as no surprise that the first application I chose to submit to the App Store was one of those filter apps — because there’s nothing I like better than wasting my time rewriting what already exists, only a little better and with less commercial success.
Anyway… it’s three in the morning and I didn’t write my announcement in advance so as not to jinx it, so it’s going to be a mess. The application is called Snap Filters, and the main reason I made it is that I can’t get CameraBag to save a single image without crashing; so Snap Filters is supposed to crash less (it will still quit on you once in a while, because every photo app does on the iPhone, but I’ve found it much more usable in the real world), and it’s designed to give you more flexibility on the filters you’re applying to your pictures, with a fast enough interface that you shouldn’t resent playing with it.
Snap Filters lets you quickly page through three color effects (from least saturated to most contrasty) in nine tint variants each, and two black and white effects (regular or contrasty) with simulated color filters (it doesn’t look like much, but lets you choose the black-and-white effect that makes your details pop most). Plus several levels and styles of vignetting, and the choice of cropping the picture to a square or not. All the while being pretty responsive (until you save the final picture, which obviously needs to take a few seconds).
Most of the photos I’ve posted here in the last couple of weeks have been made with Snap Filters, and I’ve set up a Flickr page where all of my example photos will be. You can also check out the information page for more details but, more importantly:
You should download it right now (iTunes link), because
it’s free for a while it’s discounted until I have enough reviews to go to $1.99.
Oh, fuck. Apple is apparently in the habit of holding the publication of free applications back by not approving the developer’s paperwork for free applications (which is inexistent on the dev’s side) for months.
On the other hand, according to iTunes Connect, I’m approved to sell applications. Just not offer them for free. Because there’s got to be so much more stuff for Apple’s legal department to approve, right?
I’ve paid to publish applications on the App Store. That’s absolutely unacceptable.
In unrelated news, I’m setting Snap Filters to the smallest price tag right now, so if you haven’t downoaded it for free yet you better hurry before the change is effective.
Don’t like your site’s URLs being hidden behind tinyurls on Twitter? Make your own tinyurl service, and broadcast each page’s short URL via HTML or HTTP headers; ultimately Twitter clients will auto-detect that URL and use it instead of making a tinyurl. A must-have for the perfectionist webmaster. (Also applicable to providing a digg.com URL for each and every post if you’re that kind of blogger.)
When? Monday. April 20th.” Yay! The interface looks gorgeous.
“When the device is not connected to a network, Web is Pink stays blank. This behavior might lead to user confusion.” Why, yes, of course.
It wouldn’t make that much sense in theory, yet I’ve often wished I could tap the “x” button on the last open tab in Mobile Safari to start from a blank slate.
I intended to release my Google Reader client for the Mac as is, to focus on my iPhone apps, but I can’t publish an app so ugly.
Tweetie for Mac is out, and it’s as glorious as I always thought it would be (as soon as I bought Tweetie for iPhone, I emailed the developer to tell him he had to save us from Twitterific on the desktop — he replied that he was already working on it). A couple of bugs/limitations will be fixed soon, but I’ve got one gripe, something that surprised me when I saw the demo video last week: there is no global view of all your accounts’ mentions, or DMs. Odd overlook for such a nice multi-account Twitter client.
I switched from NetNewsWire to Google Reader a few months ago, and it’s pretty clear that I’m not going to come back this time, but there’s still one thing that doesn’t work for me: in NetNewsWire, I used to scan quickly through all the articles, while listening to podcasts or watching TV, and open in tabs those I wanted to read; then, when I had more time and was more focused, I went through the tabs one by one.
That doesn’t work in a browser, becomes it quickly becomes sluggish, and I don’t trust it to save my list of open tabs if I quit or it crashes — whereas I could restart NetNewsWire when it was getting too bloated, and it would reload the list of tabs without actually loading the pages until I wanted to look at them.
I’ve gotten to use Google Reader’s “Mark as unread” option to survive, but it doesn’t really work either: the unread counts become misleading, and sometimes marked-unread articles will disappear, then reappear, etc. — basically it’s both inconvenient and unreliable.
So here comes Reader Helper: it’s a standalone application that displays your Google Reader page along with a side window listing the links you intend to read. Click on a link and it’s added to the floating sidebar, waiting. Whenever you feel like it, you can browse through the links on your sidebar, and clicking them will open the page in your default browser.
Read links stay in the sidebar until you purge it, in case something didn’t load or you need to come back to something you read earlier. And you can also Command-click a link in Google Reader to open it immediately in your browser.
The links list is backed by an sqlite database, using Gus Mueller’s FMDB library, because I’m used to SQL and I trust it not to lose data. (Even if the app crashed in the middle of saving a database update, I think you wouldn’t lose anything but the update in progress.)
0.1 is a very primitive version that doesn’t support a lot of things that I ultimately want to (I even forgot to put a loading spinner on the browser window, don’t worry if it’s empty and white for a while when you launch it), but the point is that not having a tabs list in Google Reader was driving me insane, and I really needed this application to exist, right here, right now, so I switched away from iPhone app development for a day to code it.
Oh, there IS an RSS feed for my favorite’d tweets. It’s new, right? I’m pretty sure I checked not long ago.
My favorite’d tweets are now displayed on my blog. Not sure whether I should include them in the RSS feed as well.
Damn, that’s clever use of the iPhone screen’s real estate for a photo editing app.
I’m sorry, but the moral of the story isn’t that App Store customers are morons. When people have spent money to download your app and it doesn’t work, no matter whether it’s Google’s fault or Apple’s or yours, the correct answer isn’t to mark the issue as “solved” on Get Satisfaction while the update awaits App Store approval. The correct answer is to eat crow.
Apparently they didn’t understand that “solved” was a relative term. Yes, sure, it’s not solved for you right now, but my resolution was pretty clear—it’s solved in the version Apple is looking at. JUST HOLD TIGHT. I thought this was enough. But no.
Marking a bug as “solved” when the resolution will be available in an upcoming release works in Bugzilla; it doesn’t in Get Satisfaction, which is designed to be geared toward the user’s perspective rather than the developer’s.
I hadn’t spent much time with people like this before, and it made me realize that this is what entrepreneurship is all about. These people throw stuff against the wall until something sticks. They have no way of knowing which of their crazy ideas will make it big. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit, which I have to admire. I probably couldn’t cut it in that world.
Not that I want to compare myself with the MySpace founders who reportedly started out by peddling spyware-infested custom mouse pointers, but that’s just the quote I needed to read this week.
I’ve checked the logs to see when the reviewers actually use the apps for the first time.
In all cases, the reviewers don’t touch the app until the day before approval or rejection. And they don’t seem to interact with the app for more than a few minutes.
That’s an interesting fact. (To add my experience: the reviewer rejected my second app, because it doesn’t display an error message when there is no network connection, before ever actually logging into the service. Which makes or doesn’t make sense. I don’t care. Zen is me. Fuck you, Apple.)
I have a different theory: The delay is intentional. I think Apple has found some good reasons for making app developers wait at least a few days before they spend a second of their time reviewing it.
And that’s borderline-psychotic paranoia.
Here’s my “theory”: the reason the approval delay is consistent across many submissions is simply that Apple has determined that a dozen days was the maximum acceptable delay, so when the queue is getting clogged and delays are about to get longer they reallocate human resources from somewhere else (or hire temps, or simply get less picky and approve apps faster) to get it back to a manageable level.
If Apple hired enough people to approve your app in the ten minutes after you posted them, then those people would spend a good part of some days doing nothing (and there would still be a need to find additional resources on those days when the workload is higher). And that wouldn’t make any business sense, would it.
But then, anyone having to interact with iTunes Connect can’t be faulted for becoming a conspiracy theorist. It would do that to people.
Oh, great, now it’s never gonna happen. Couldn’t someone at Mozilla think of it first?
That would be a great idea if it didn’t require using Firefox on a Mac. It would be nice in Safari, but more importantly someone needs to make in work in Firefox on Windows.
I’m glad Microsoft and Google are lagging so much in that field and letting an incredibly well-engineered* competitor settle in.
* Well, except for the lack of resource-fork support on OS X.
Q: And did you take on the role then as CEO?
Jobs: Well, no, I did not. I was very concerned that Pixar was a newly public company with shareholders, employees, and I felt that - - to my knowledge there had never been a CEO of two public companies before. So I felt if I took the job, the Pixar shareholders and employees would think I was abandoning them.
Jobs: And I decided I just - - that I couldn’t do that. So I took the title of interim CEO and agreed to come back for 90 days to help recruit a full-time CEO.
Q: How did that recruitment effort go?
Jobs: I failed.
Q: And when you say you failed, is it that you didn’t find anyone that you thought would be suitable to take on the role?
Jobs: Yes. Apple was not in good shape and everybody knew it and the kind of candidates that we were being offered up by the headhunters were not very talented.
Q: Okay. In other words, not the sort of people who could turn Apple around?
Q: Okay. So after that 90 days, what happened next?
Jobs: Well, it just kind of slid into the fact that I stayed. I kept the interim CEO title for quite some time, a number of years.
We’re supposed to believe that?
Pourquoi je n’achèterai plus jamais de ma vie un nom de domaine chez OVH : même pour simplement changer un des contacts, ils réclament un formulaire signé par le propriétaire avec une copie de la carte d’identité. (Et accessoirement le formulaire n’est imprimable qu’avec Adobe Reader.)
Et moi qui préfère mettre mes clients comme propriétaires des noms de domaine que j’achète pour eux, par honnêteté.
Et moi qui ai une trentaine de noms de domaine chez OVH parce que j’ai voulu utiliser tous mes free’dom avant que mes gros serveurs n’expirent.
J’aurais compris ça d’un registrar de luxe qui présenterait cette sécurité comme un avantage, pour protéger ses clients, mais là on est dans l’excès inverse : mettre des bâtons dans les roues des clients pour ne jamais avoir à gérer de contestations au cas où quelqu’un se ferait piquer un nom de domaine pour cause de mot de passe trop facile à deviner.
Why do I bother saving my Snap Filters pics in 1600x1200 when Mobile Mail will resize them to 800x600 when sending to Flickr anyway?
Did Apple publish the Snap Filters 1.1 update without telling me? (And forget that the icon was pre-rendered?) When?!
Please tell me the free download codes for reviewers don’t expire when a new version of the app is published.
Version 1.1 is available, and it’s really getting good, if I do say so myself, and if I don’t who will — you can now boost your photos’ contrast, and there’s a set of preselected filter combinations that lets you dive right into the app and quickly select how to get the best of each picture you take with your iPhone.
Ah, and I’ve added the option to save your photos in a smaller, faster format, if you’re sure you won’t need the “high” resolution image.
Nine brightness / contrast settings, 27 color filters and 18 black-and-white, 9 vignetting settings, and the choice to crop each picture to a square format or not — all in a pretty responsive interface.
Oh, yeah, I have to steal a camcorder one of these days to make a demo video (since the responsiveness is an important factor, I can’t make a screencast with iPhone Simulator).
For the cover of Esquire’s June issue, photographer Greg Williams shot ten minutes of video footage of Megan Fox [with a Red One], from which the best stills were selected for the cover and inside the magazine.
Turns out Flickr invented with the moving photograph what science-fiction had promised for decades — now we’re only missing color e-paper. (Actually, holograms already exist.)
Tetris meets Sudoku in this original, addictive puzzle game.
Before you start playing it, you’ll think this is a pretty simple variation on the classic Bejeweled clones — replace symbols with numbers, woo!
But, as you’ll quickly find out when you start playing it and have the hardest time figuring out how to actually play it right, this is one of the most creative takes on “drop pieces in a grid” I’ve ever seen. And, like all the best games, it’s got incredibly simple mechanics, but they result in a deep and highly addictive game.
Here’s the basic principle: a block marked with a number disappears from the grid when it’s part of a group containing that number of blocks. So, if you have a full row of seven blocks, containing a couple 7s, only those 7s will disappear. If you have a column of four pieces with a 4, a 3, a 2, and a 1 (in any order), then the 4 will disappear; then the 3 will disappear, then the 2, then the 1 (and you’ll get lots of points for that, because that’s a x4 chain).
In addition, because that would probably be a bit too simple, the game throws unmarked, sealed blocks at you, that will only reveal the number they contain after they’ve been near a number that disappeared from the grid. And for each new level, a whole row of those mystery discs pops up from the bottom of the grid — dooming you if you happen to be stuck with a bunch of 1s on top of them.
I don’t think it’s possible to explain why the game is so cool (which is why I’m not trying very hard), so if you’re at all into puzzles with falling pieces, and aren’t afraid of counting (unlike Sudoku, Drop7 is indeed mathematical), you absolutely have to download the free edition (iTunes link). And you may well not feel the need to upgrade to the paid version (it doesn’t look like the Lite game is limited in any way that really matters), but you should, just because it’s such a clever puzzle game.
Two strategy hints to get you started:
your very first priority should be to get rid of 1s, almost at any cost
the second most important thing in the game is to uncover the numbers hidden in those gray discs, so any turn that didn’t contribute to chipping away at one of those discs is a lost turn (and any lost turn gets you closer to the next level-up with its whole additional row of gray discs)
Kiss your productivity and your battery good-bye (I’m not sure such a game should drain the battery that fast, but then almost every app does nowadays). And good luck getting rid of your deeply-ingrained Tetris or Bejeweled reflexes, they won’t help you at all here.
Well worth the price.