Hi! My name is Cédric Bozzi, I make websites and iOS apps, and this is my blog about technology (mostly a Twitter archive, really).

1 May 2009

iPhone’s Flight Control Exceeds 700,000 [Sales]

I really need to make an iPhone game… but I don’t know how to invent a game. Ideas? (Flight Control is nice, well done — rather minor and probably short-lived, but then it’s cheap.)

Flight Control: yeah, right, I’m gonna register with my e-mail address just to post my score to your board.

3 May

Même le dimanche, Apple est très occupé à rejeter l’application Web is Pink. Demande de clarification en cours.

Est-ce que quelqu’un ici a installé iTunes 8.2 béta ?

4 May

Tweetie 1.1 broken. Ooh, didn’t know you could save searches on the Twitter home page.

Tweetie 1.1.1 works. Like the new highlight for the selected tweet.

“It’s Awe.sm: Create A Powerful Custom URL Shortener For Your Own Domain”

I just noticed this afternoon that TechCrunch’s tweets used “tcrn.ch” as a tinyurl domain, and I thought it was an awesome idea: the ultimate branding, and no more relying on an external service to be around when people want to click a link. (The Twitter crowd still remembers the great crisis when tinyurl.com was down a week or two ago. Who am I kidding? The Twitter crowd remembers nothing that happened more than 24 hours ago.)

Well, in TechCrunch’s case, it turns out to be the exact opposite: completely stupid. They’re paying an external service (or using that paid service for free in exchange for today’s article) and leaving the domain in their care (assuming they did buy it themselves, at least) — so that, instead of relying on tinyurl’s reliability, they’re relying on someone else’s.

Geez.

It’s not like it’s difficult to add a tinyurl system to your blog (when you’re TechCrunch, or you’re an individual geek). Why would someone go so far out of their way to relinquish control over their URLs?

5 May

Facebook Inches Towards Real-Time

When friends post new content or update their status, a section right under the update bar appears that asks whether you want to show new posts.

That’s an interesting choice: less disorienting than scrolling updates à la Friendfeed, and a better experience than reloading the whole page with its chat and scripts.

I need “Make your OS X application AppleScriptable” for dummies. Documentation’s obtuse, as always.

Was the DM interface on Tweetie Desktop always this stupid? Click the DM tab, and then click the updated — unmarked — conversation?

6 May

Miraculously managed to add a “do JavaScript” command to Reader Helper. I’ll never criticize a Mac app again for not supporting AppleScript.

I don’t know if the things Tweetie gets wrong annoy me so much because the interface is so pretty, or because they’re really important.

“Can a Palm Pre multitask better than an iPhone?”

It does, however, mean [Palm’s HTML/JavaScript applications] are (in general) more lightweight and less-resource intensive than iPhone applications, which are developed using the Objective-C programming language.

Excuse me, what?

Yay to the kind of thinking that gave us AIR — and, in its day, Java.

7 May

“Twitter Follower Notifications: Now With More Cowbell”

Today marks a milestone achievement then, because what you’ll notice if you check your inbox is that your Twitter new follower emails have gotten a major makeover. Okay, so maybe we’re exaggerating the importance of this news, but hey, getting a better glimpse at new followers is a welcome new feature we’ve wanted since the beginning.

Gee, no kidding.

John Siracusa: “Hypercritical”

I’d pull a quote, but it would be a disservice to an all-around great piece. Someday it will be a fight to the death between Siracusa and me for Jobs’s succession. (No, I don’t consider Gruber to be qualified.) And, yeah, judging by the current quality and success of our respective blogs, of course I will lose.

“Apple iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5 released: MMS hole closed”

Early feedback suggests that the new release may be more about locking down security than it is adding features or increasing stability: one of the more obvious changes is that MMS can no longer be activated.

I find it odd that they’d waste time on locking down the beta so close to release but, hey, it’s Apple.

“Seesmic CEO on the business of Twitter”

After Le Meur bought Twhirl and saw that app get more traction than Seesmic itself, he realized, he told me, that his business lay not in building a new community of people sharing videos, but rather in enabling users to participate in any community they want to.

It learns!

“Spreadtweet - it’s Twitter disguised as a spreadsheet”

Basically it’s a boss key for Twitter allowing you to receive and view updates while you work, displaying them in a faux Excel (2003 or 2007) or iWork Numbers (OS X) spreadsheet.

“Adopt or Die: All New iPhone Apps Must Be Compatible with OS 3.0”

Beginning today, all submissions to the App Store will be reviewed on the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0. If your app submission is not compatible with iPhone OS 3.0, it will not be approved.

Yay, new reasons for Apple to reject our apps! (I don’t have enough spare computers or iPhones — or even drive space — to start installing the beta SDK.)

8 May

“First look: Twitterrific 2 for iPhone”

Meh. I’m sure I’ll try it, but this doesn’t look to me like a Tweetie-killer.

“[New Hampshire] Police Launch iPod Registry to Curb Thefts | Cult of Mac”

That sounds like a good idea. (Since Steve Jobs lives too sheltered a life to bother about implementing anti-theft functionality. Even iPhone remote wipe had to be demanded by business users.)

“Samsung’s Alias 2 dynamic E-Ink keypad in action”

That’s what the “iPhone Pro” needs. Too bad I don’t think Apple has ever demonstrated an interest in e-ink.

Twitterific 2 (iPhone)

They whipped out Photosop big-time to counter Tweetie, and it shows; more importantly, the interface is smooth (finally) and, contrary to what I thought when I saw the preview, very well designed. I think I just might switch back.

Not gonna write a detailed review since you’re all going to download it anyway, just noting two gripes: tapping your name in the top toolbar shows your profile, getting in the way of tapping the statusbar to scroll back to the top of the list; and, for some reason, once you’ve tapped to select a tweet, you have to swipe to deselect, which is absurd.

 

I don’t like that it took them the arrival and success of Tweetie to realize that they needed to fix their crusty old Twitter clients, but I’m nevertheless quite curious to see what Twitterific 2 for Mac is going to look like.

“Twitterrific 2.0 iPhone Easter Eggs”

Like the desktop version of Twitterrific, the iPhone version now also now features “The vocal stylings of Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch inform you when a posted tweet is exactly 140 characters long.”

I like the “Twoosh!” graphic; I’m gonna try to go for it (with one of my secondary accounts, because unlike some other cheap whores I try not to spam my followers).

Web is Pink rejected again

Thank you for submitting Web is Pink to the App Store. We’ve reviewed Web is Pink and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains inappropriate sexual content and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states:

“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”

No screenshot of the objectionable material attached this time… probably because I’ve removed all sexual content from the version of the web app that’s accessible from within the application. It hardly “acknowledges the existence of sex” anymore, as Ira Glass would say — meanwhile, there are still cock shots on aka-aki and Grindr, of course. Bite me.

I’m taking a break until iPhone OS 3.0 is out and the App Store gets parental controls. Or I’m re-uploading as is, in case I get more lucky with another reviewer. Not sure.

9 May

“Twitter Inventor About To Launch His Next Project”

An acorn-shaped iPhone peripheral that lets any small-time merchant take credit cards? I hope the source was completely wrong, because that’s an insane idea. Would you let any random stranger swipe your credit card with their phone?

Prism 1.0b1

Mozilla’s application to create site-specific browsers. Expectedly un-Mac-like, surprisingly ugly interface, and somehow it’s Intel-only. Never expected it to be good, but it manages to be worse — just for fun, compare it to what one guy made on the Mac.

11 May

“iPhone Temperature Warning Needs Autodestruction Countdown”

I thought this temperature warning screen—which says “iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it”—was a funny fake. Turns out it’s completely real.

Twitshirt

Twitshirt lets you buy t-shirts with your favorite tweets printed on them. $20 per shirt, and $1 goes to the author of the tweet. […] They listened to the criticism, thought about how to address it, and boom, now they’re back with a redesigned system that is now opt-in.

I understand the complaints, but the only way the service made sense was if it was opt-out for the authors. If you’re going to actively get people to print out your tweets (which takes some hubris in the first place), you’ll set up a Cafepress shop and get more than $1 per tee.

“Apple Harpoons An iPhone App Due To Fail Whale Sighting”

Young also sent the picture Apple attached, and notes that the timestamp seems to prove that Apple was testing [his Twitter client] when Twitter was still Fail Whaling big time after its planned maintenance on Friday.

Oh, nice one. Being an App Store reviewer has to be quite boring (and maybe there’s no provision for a reviewer to flag an app that needs to be tested again the next day), but still… it’s not like they don’t know what Twitter is:

And you’ll note that the Twitter account in the screenshot, Zictest3, is listed under the name, “Apple Test Account.”

12 May

“Bonjour Monsieur, c’est au sujet de l’installation de la fibre FT dans votre immeuble, si vous voulez plus d’informations…” Hmm. Hmm.

Zune phone all but announced

Huh. Are they sure it’s a legit Twitter account, though? Because “Office 2010 will include Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks integrated right into Word” doesn’t make that much sense either.

 

P.S.: Toldja. How do several fucking “professional” blogs post that story without ever checking in with Microsoft PR?!

Le prospectus qui va avec : “Vous venez de souscrire à l’offre La fibre et nous vous en remercions.” Euh, non.

13 May

“Why Apple Is Doomed Without Steve Jobs”

What happens when Apple’s famously perfectionist CEO takes a six-month medical leave? Everything at Apple goes to hell. Like the parking lots.

That would be a weird thing to photoshop, but an equally weird thing to fuck up.

“What happens to data when a Web start-up dies?”

Pogoplug has put the source code for its servers in escrow. If the company goes bankrupt, the terms of the escrow dictate that the code be released to SourceForge as an open-source library.

I’m not sure what I think of that.

“Why is Vin Diesel So Popular on Facebook?”

A typical update from Diesel features about a paragraph of text – sometimes on edgy subjects like race – as well as personal photos as opposed to staged photo opps. And the results are fairly overwhelming – many of his posts have more than 10,000 “likes” in addition to thousands of comments. When your friends take these actions, it pushes Diesel into Facebook’s new “Highlights” area, which is helping fuel the massive growth of his Facebook Page.

Now that is a good thing for Facebook to push forward in the race against Twitter.

“D-Link CAPTCHA-enabled Router”

The new firmware also works great with current models, where the familiar distorted letters and numbers combination are added to common router settings pages.

WHAT?

What’s next, captchas on cars to deter illiterate thieves?

“Palm files for automatic call filter patent”

Essentially, the way it works is that for certain contacts you give them a call priority rating (one for the boss, wife, and kids; two for your mother; three for your mother-in-law; and four for Mary down the hall). Then, when you have an important calendar appointment, you enter a call priority rating and only phone calls from that rating or higher will get through, lower rated callers will go straight to voicemail.

Urgh. Goddamn software patents.

I’ve had it with ClickToFlash having a new version every week — and failing to update each time. All for a simple fucking plugin.

“Twitter changes @reply settings again, users protest”

Twitter has now removed the option, and the new default for every user is that @replies that are both to and from someone you follow will be visible, but other @’s won’t. The move appears to have been made because an overwhelming number of users had been using replies this way, but I’m already seeing a bit of a frenzy in my normally-calm Twitter stream from people who liked discovering new users by seeing their friends @ them. […]

My prediction: the settings go back to normal by the end of the week, or we hear a much better reason for the change.

It’s always such an odd idea to remove what little customizability there was. The new behavior is the one that takes most processing power, so they’re not even motivated by server load.

14 May

“Mulligan! Twitter backtracks on unpopular change”

For now, Twitter’s team is bringing the feature back in a limited form (you’ll see all @-replies, except for ones created using the “reply” button in Twitter’s interface, which is a tad convoluted)

I am at a loss to imagine how they’ve architectured their data so that this would be the only possible way to get out of the crisis — because “convoluted” doesn’t begin to cover it: that distinction doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

“We’ve started designing a new feature which will give folks far more control over what they see from the accounts they follow. This will be a per-user setting.”

Per-user? I don’t see how that’s better for the servers, but more importantly it’s worse for the user (that follows more than ten people). Unless… it’s per-group, rather than per-user.

“Google Launches Search Options, Declares Real-Time Search Biggest Challenge”

When you click on “Search options” you can filter your search by different types of results (videos, forums, and reviews), by time (recent, past 24 hours, past week, past year), as well as seeing related searches, a “wonder wheel” view, or a timeline view.

About time.

“Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Introducing Rich Snippets”

Rich Snippets give users convenient summary information about their search results at a glance. We are currently supporting data about reviews and people. When searching for a product or service, users can easily see reviews and ratings, and when searching for a person, they’ll get help distinguishing between people with the same name.

Point one: what’s the point of ignoring <meta> for years if you’re going to add new bogus information for webmasters to put in? Point two: when I see a star rating on a Google result, I expect that to be rating the search result, not to be the “item”’s rating pulled directly from the site. Whoever approved that?

“Microsoft Xbox 360 3D webcam tipped for E3 unveil”

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 webcam could be announced as early as at E3 next month, according to the latest sources talking to the WSJ, using 3D camera technology believed to have been acquired when the company bought start-up 3DV Systems.  3DV developed the ZCam, a 60fps 3D-capable camera that is reportedly low-cost, and which can track a gamers movements and gestures.

I remember when I first read about cameras with depth perception (that was for professional video, using depth instead of a green screen to isolate a subject, and it doesn’t seem to have gotten a market). If Microsoft’s gesture interface uses this, then I might go from meh to nerdgasm.

MSIE6 understands “text-overflow: ellipsis”? I’m surprised.

“Parking-Lot Typo Roils Apple Campus”

Mystery solved! We’re calling this one: yesterday’s photo was real and Apple quickly made the fix. A neutral and very trusted source just went by the parking lot to investigate. His assessment: “Yeah, this was obviously scraped clean very recently and repainted. Can you see the outline of the old lettering?”

They fixed it in one day, and the paint doesn’t look wet, or any different at all? (Whatever, I only have to link to this article because I mentioned the previous photo.)

“Apple lands OLPC security whiz – more secure products on the way?”

Bitfrost [had] five primary goals, all of which [were] targeted at making the OLPC one of the most secure platforms available.

Seems like a bright guy. Wanna bet he quits within twelve months? Hiring one guy who groks security isn’t enough to change the careless orientation of a whole company.

Macworld reviews Ego for iPhone

The thing about Ego — the reason why I bought it even though it’s useless and I don’t care much about my stats — isn’t functionality or even design. It’s the name, and the icon: buying Ego is like giving your ego a gift of golden recognition.

Now, how do I apply that marketing lesson to something I could make?

Oh, that’s why I haven’t heard Buzz Out Loud all week: unsubscribed accidentally because iTunes is an idiot. Okay, do I add it back or not…

Latest App Store Rejection

Thank you for submitting Web is Pink to the App Store. We’ve reviewed Web is Pink and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains objectionable content and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states:

“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”

Attached are screen shots of some examples of objectionable content.

 

Like I said before, the application barely acknowledges the existence of sex anymore. Well, there is the word “sex” on the third screenshot.

And the fourth screenshot, as you can tell, is taken from Mobile Safari — because profile pages include a link to the web version of the profile, the one that isn’t censored:

Remember when you checked your stats to see who mentioned you? What, you still do? Oh, wait, nobody talks about me anymore, that’s why.

“Mac OSX 10.5.7: Better for Hackintoshed Netbooks?”

Early reports from MSI forums claim boosts from 3 hours 45 minutes to 5 hours 5 minutes on a six-cell MSI Wind after upgrading to 10.5.7, which just became available Wednesday. The update doesn’t claim battery life improvements as a feature […] maybe these improvements only show up on Atom processors.

Atom-powered full-OS X Apple netbook confirmed?

I swear, they posted a new update to ClickToFlash today just to mess with me.

15 May

“’Verified apps’ coming soon to Facebook”

This is ridiculous. Not only does it make it look like Facebook allows “verified” and “unverified, dangerous, scammy phishy” applications in the listing, but the whole conceit of verifying applications is entirely moot since those are externally-hosted web apps.

“Google Product Search For Android Phones Now Features Barcode Scanning”

Ouch. Well, it would be a big ‘ouch’ for retailers if people actually used Android phones. Also: how? Was Google clever enough, unlike Apple, to add Javascript access to the camera in the web browser?

If I’m going to post content on #FF00AA again, I need to re-launch it publicly. Somehow.

“Shoving scraps into Shovebox. Desktop and iPhone reviewed”

I’m interested, but not for $30 and a desktop application that doesn’t offer a three-pane interface. Still waiting for someone to deign develop the file-based GTD / notes / stuff management application I’ve got in my head.

“Twitter Blog: The Replies Kerfuffle”

Even though only 3% of all Twitter accounts ever changed this setting away from the default, […] every time someone wrote a reply Twitter had to check and see what each of their followers’ reply setting was and then manifest that tweet accordingly in their timeline—this was the most expensive work the database was doing […] Ideally, we would redesign and rebuild this feature but there was no time, hence the sudden deploy.

Well, okay then, fine. (Although, if only 3% of users changed the setting, you could easily enough create a dedicated database of those users on separate servers, and only check that and save yourself a lot of grief, couldn’t you? I mean, rather than promise an unwieldy amount of customization in the future, and hope people forget.)

16 May

“Ian Bogost’s Guru Meditation comes to iPhone”

Remain motionless and your guru score rises, move a muscle and you crash back to the ground and start again. The iPhone [game] requires the player to hold the device in both hands, and uses the mic as well: in this version, you have to remain silent as well as motionless.

I love the idea; haven’t decided yet if I’m willing to pay $0.99 for it.

“Apple Is Indeed Talking About Opening iPhone Background Tasks”

Basically, my source says that while this is in no way a done deal yet, Apple is definitely trying to come up with a way to offer background support for third-party apps. They went on to note that while Apple may have something to say about it at WWDC, it’s very unlikely that any solution would be ready at that time.

But… once you’ve accepted the premise of allowing background processes, how hard can it be to implement? I never bitched about the lack of copy-and-paste on the iPhone because I acknowledged that finding the right interface for it wasn’t trivial; but I don’t really feel the same way about multitasking.

I think jailbroken iPhone have a perfectly valid interface for it, and there are a few alternatives that are just as valid, but I don’t think it should take a full year to choose one (or several).

 

And the new iPhone hardware is likely to have a better processor and more RAM, which would alleviate system strain, so it’s also possible these background apps would only be possible with the new hardware.

I wonder if App Store apps will be allowed to target specifically the new hardware; if they’re not, then the new iPhone will indeed be able to run several apps without breaking a sweat, like running several virtual iPhones inside.

But many existing customers would declare war on Apple if background processes were exclusive to the new iPhone. Besides, most background apps won’t be CPU hogs (except those that are poorly programmed); it’s mostly about online presence and that just takes a couple of cycles.

 

So why is Apple talking about this now? Well one part may be the new hardware that should be coming shortly, but another is undoubtedly the imminent launch of the Palm Pre.

Is he saying that Apple is now in the business of intentional leaks? That’s a slippery slope. Leaking stuff to the Wall Street Journal on Keynote Eve to prepare the more conservative audience was one thing, but promoting rumors about vaporware to counter the launch of a competitor (and one which is already doomed) is definitely Microsoftian.

I like the tiny interface touches of Wolfram Alpha (starting with the equal-sign button). Other than that, don’t care about it.

17 May

Je regarde le contenu de mon mail Free pour la première fois depuis des années, et — wow, du spam en français ! Ca fait bizarre.

“Desmond was a wuss”

But we all know Desmond was a wuss, right? I mean, who couldn’t enter those numbers every 108 minutes? It’s not like he had anything else to do. Well, here’s your chance to show the world how mentally tough you are (and how little a life you have) by playing Smallrock Software’s Doomsday Terminal app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

“Top 10 Wolfram Alpha Easter Eggs”

I like that they can let their geek flag fly. There’s no way Google would allow itself to say “Hello, human” — just like the HAL error message. Too threatening.

19 May

“Facebook Developers | Facebook Developers News”

Now, users can register for Facebook using their Gmail accounts. This is a quicker, more streamlined way for new users to register for the site, find their friends, and start exploring.

Existing and new users can now link their Facebook accounts with their Gmail accounts or with accounts from [other] OpenID providers that support automatic login. Once a user links his or her account with a Gmail address or an OpenID URL, logs in to that account, then goes to Facebook, that user will already be logged in to Facebook.

Doesn’t cost them anything, but I’m still surprised they’re doing it. Interesting that the Google confirmation prompt mentions they want access to your Google Contacts.

“Palm Pre to launch in the first week of June”

Well the New York Times, one of the most respected newspapers of our age, claims The Smartphone That Saved Palm (despite their denials) is due in the first week of June.

I can’t believe that rumor’s going to turn out to be true. To be sure, there is no right time for Palm to launch the Pre (as I’ve said before, the extent of the Pre’s failure will depend solely on whether Apple announces an iPhone with a keyboard, and possibly background processes) but I’m fairly certain that WWDC week is the worst possible time.

There was speculation in one of the latest TWiT podcasts that Palm hoped to get throwaway lines at the end of all media reporting about the iPhone — “Meanwhile, Palm is hoping to take on the iPhone with its new Pre smartphone.” I know there’s supposedly no bad publicity, but I don’t see anything positive about that strategy.

Unless they’re sacrificing the Pre (which is said by everyone to be crappy hardware) and counting on the fall’s launch of WebOS-based Centro to make things right.

Or they’re just panicking.

“Adium releases 1.4 beta with IRC and Twitter support”

As nice as it is to get stable updates to Adium, 1.3.4 is overshadowed by the release of 1.4 beta, which includes support for Twitter and IRC.

1.4b also has a ton of other improvements and fixes, especially in the area of group chats. […] Why do group chats matter so much? Well, for one thing, Twitter for Adium runs in a group chat window, so the devs likely had to get that part of the interface running smoothly to roll out Twitter support.

Oh, that makes sense. I’m suddenly a little less annoyed that Twitter support in a stable release of Adium is so far away. (Also, I don’t give a fuck anymore because there are usable Twitter clients on the Mac again.)

“Developers invited to test iPhone 3.0 push notifications with Associated Press app”

If you’re a developer running the iPhone 3.0 beta, you may have gotten a special note in your email today. […] Apple is testing the long-awaited push notification feature of the 3.0 software (and the back-end servers that provide the updates) with a build of the Associated Press news update app.

Ooh, that means Apple is actually going to launch those push notifications, this time. (Unless the beta test shows it’s fubar, of course.)

“Palm Pre on June 6th for $200: It’s official!”

Well, at least the price is reasonable (though not impressive either), contrary to what was feared. Well, now it’s up to Apple.

21 May

Gave in and subscribed again to Buzz Out Loud. I just really need a daily podcast, even if it hurts my blood pressure.

Steve Jobs must never have installed a single iPhone app. There’s no way they’d still send email receipts for every free app you non-buy.

Oh, that’s new

Your application, Web is Pink, is requiring unexpected additional time for review. We apologize for the delay, and will update you with further status as soon as we are able.

Judging from a Google search, it could be a legit notice that the reviewers are backlogged, but it’s more likely to mean that they’ve just gotten fed up with rejecting my application and moved on to veto it — that notice was sent exactly ten minutes after the one that acknowledged reception of my reply to their latest rejection e-mail.

You wouldn’t think that I paid to enter the developer program.

22 May

“CSS3 Exciting Functions and Features”

I didn’t know you could do multiple text-shadows; never heard about box-sizing (which is cool although I’m not sure of what use it can be), and I’m gonna lift those pure-CSS buttons.

“The Next iPhone”

The original EDGE iPhone and iPhone 3G use the same 400 MHz processor. Let’s say the rumors are right — and I believe they are — that the next-generation iPhone’s CPU will be running at 600 MHz. In the same way that, say, a 90 MHz Pentium was more than 1.5 times as fast as a 60 MHz 486, the 600 MHz CPU in the next iPhone will be more than 1.5 times as fast as the current 400 MHz iPhone CPU.

That’s what I already assumed as soon as the first rumors came out about the new CPU speed. The iPhone has been out for two years; it’s past time to switch to a new generation of CPUs.

Plus, there ought to be changes in the GPU as well, I suppose.

 

Industrial design changes will be subtle, perhaps very subtle. I expect that cases designed for the iPhone 3G will continue to fit the new iPhone, and that the only colors will remain black and white.

Hmm. Most people won’t upgrade just because it’s faster or for a 32GB version — or even because it does video. Those are nice plusses for new customers, but I don’t think it’s going to make me switch. Give me a hardware keyboard! Don’t you want to kill Palm?

Gruber is usually pretty reliable, which is why I tend to take these rumors/speculations more seriously than a TechCrunch article; the only thing I have trouble believing is that Apple would fit an autofocus lens in the iPhone’s form factor. I know that there are concepts of fluid lenses or whatever, but I’d be surprised if there was anything reliable and affordable enough to be embedded into Apple’s flagship product this summer. (And it doesn’t matter so much, because focusing isn’t the foremost problem with the iPhone’s camera.)

“Google tweaks logos, embraces lowercase text”

I had to zoom in and check that the additional text’s baseline was correctly aligned. Because of the embossing and shadow of the main Google logo, it just feels very, very wrong to the eye.

“Gmail Inbox Preview Shows Message Blurbs While Loading”

As Gmail’s engineers point out, it stinks to wait for Gmail to load up all its AJAX-y, gadget-loaded interface, just to find out there’s no new mail.

Yes, it does stink to wait for Gmail to load. And it stinks that the workaround for that is to load the inbox contents once more. (Plus, that Labs extension will remain pretty useless as long as the difference between read and unread messages is so subtle.)

23 May

People are bored with “RT” and replacing it with “via.” That’s not what “via” means, goddamnit; you’ve managed to make it worse.

24 May

“Apple said building $1 billion server farm”

The deal would give the tax breaks to companies with a minority market share in North Carolina, but with a disproportionately large amount of property and staff located in the region. Apple would stand to save as much as $46 million in the space of 10 years but, in return, would have to invest $1 billion within nine years and locate itself in one of the state’s poorer counties.

Now that’s a good use of the billions Apple has in the bank (unlike most web 2.0 acquisition rumors). Just a little something so MobileMe can finally graduate to functioning beta.

“Goldbase.be is a Facebook Scam: DO NOT Visit”

I’m receiving Facebook mails with links to “.be” sites which are obviously nefarious. The subject line of the mails is “Look at This”.

If you receive such a mail, DO NOT click links to the following sites: goldbase.be greenbuddy.be silvertag.be picoband.be

In 2009, a prominent tech blog (moreover, a blog that specializes in web 2.0 news) is still in the business of posting 1999-style panicked security warnings about “do not click links to this very specific list of sites” (or to a whole country’s TLD, in this case) as if those sites were going to self-destruct your computer, instead of simply writing “always check that you’re actually on facebook.com before you type your password, morons.”

As I’ve already written, part of it is Facebook’s fault for encouraging you to type your password anywhere and everywhere (latest case in point, iPhone apps), but I’d still expect Cashmore to show a little more discrimination than my mother does when she forwards warning e-mails about urban legends. You can’t be secure by relying on a blacklist of domain names you mustn’t click.

 

(Note that this is also the strongest case against framing outgoing URLs, Facebook- or Digg-style — but I just checked, and links in Facebook messages aren’t framed, so it doesn’t apply in that case. It shouldn’t be too hard, though, to manufacture a fake Facebook login page framed within a facebook.com frameset.)

 

P.S. Love this comment:

I got one from pinkamigo.be and very stupidly clicked on it. i have no idea what i was thinking. once i saw what opened up in my browser i shut my computer down…. I did a SpyBot S&D scan and a Windows Defender scan and chanced my FB password…. I hope that’s good enough.

25 May

Videos from the Palm Pre SDK’s emulator

Of course, the guy making the videos was so boring and slow that I couldn’t watch a single one until the end, but the point is — damn if that thing doesn’t make the iPhone look like it’s been designed in the USSR.

There are small inconsistencies (sometimes labels are on the left and values on the right, sometimes the other way around; and the “Menu” button on the Maps interface is pretty stupid) but it feels so much more fun and we’ve all managed to forget so quickly how revolutionary the iPhone was when it was launched.

Ah, and judging from the Parallels Desktop-like icons at the bottom of the window, I’d bet Palm did think of letting you disable the network for the purpose of testing your app. Apparently it’s Sun’s Virtual Box, but I can’t tell whether it’s embedded in the SDK, or just used for this video by a Mac user.

“Sprint’s Pre business launch guide leaked in its entirety”

Remote wipe (“kill pill”) capability will be available at launch; users simply need to log into their Palm Profile web page to initiate the wipe. Doesn’t change the fact that your phone was stolen, though, you poor thing.

How many users with insecure passwords will have to see their Pre wiped out before they limit that functionality?

“Palm Pre Gesture Guide Leaks Out”

Maybe it’s the heat, or I’d need to see a smooth video or try it for myself, but I find the whole business with the center button and gesture area to lack a bit of coherence. (You know, like I’ve always been a fan of the fact that, on PCs, the Windows key is always for systemwide shortcuts, Ctrl for application shortcuts, and Alt for keyboard access to interface elements?)

Move cursor: Insert the cursor, press and hold the orange key, and then drag anywhere on the screen.

Now that’s just awkward.

26 May

“Gmail and Facebook Users: Time to Resign Yourself to Extra Contacts [on Your Pre]”

[Gmail] is aggressive at adding contact emails to you list. Even if you cull it regularly, it becomes messy.

It gets a bit more complicated with the Pre, as we’re discovering in our forums. Turns out that the webOS syncs All Contacts instead of “My Contacts,” meaning all those extra “suggested contacts” are included in your sync. Sure, you can delete them, but it’s still messy.

Add in the fact that you can’t delete Facebook contacts or choose which ones you want to sync to the Pre.

That’s why I hate automatic contact sync. It’s convenient in theory, but always lacks some control.

27 May

Tweetie 1.2 adds video capture and upload, and doesn’t fix any of the most common bugs & requests on getsatisfaction. Losing faith.

“Samsung goes square with U.S. Cellular”

Square phones like the LG Lotus may look rather peculiar, but it appears the trend is beginning to catch on.

Right. I already have 50% chances to pick up my iPhone the wrong side up, so why wouldn’t you want to make all four sides the same size?

“Zune HD is official, heading your way this Fall”

Basically an iPod touch minus the successful platform, but I like the design. They’ve finally found a style that looks cool while steering away from the iPod-cloneness. Quite PC-ish, and that’s the way it should be.

Brushes Viewer

Brushes Viewer is a free application for Mac OS X that allows you to replay your Brushes paintings stroke for stroke, export them at very high resolutions (up to 1920 x 2880)

Emphasis mine. I didn’t realize that was the way you could get higher-res images from the Brushes iPhone app — I understand now why it’s very interesting (for people who can draw).

28 May

“Twitter Might Start Adding Comments & Location-Based Information to Each Tweet”

Every service should have “like” and geolocation, but I’m not sure about comments — it’s something you think you want, but it ends up breaking the whole paradigm of Twitter, killing the whole (unintended) conversational aspect that its users have initiated.

“Add a reminder to your contacts, get reminded when in contact”

If you have an important message or a question for a contact, you can enter a reminder right on your phone. The next time you and the contact are in touch—whether by phone call, email, or text message/IM—the reminder pops up as a notification.

I don’t know if they’re the first to do that (the unified contacts list helps), but that is just awesome.

“Google Latitude On The iPhone — But It’s Not A Native App”

The reason Google has been waiting for the 3.0 software is because it’s not actually creating a native iPhone app for Latitude — as all other location-based services on the iPhone are — instead it’s using the Safari web browser to run Latitude. Thanks to HTML 5, Safari will be able to access a user’s location information.

So, as soon as OS 3.0 is out, I can have geolocation on Web is Pink without a dedicated app. That’s good, since they don’t seem likely to ever approve the app, but it doesn’t exactly give the same exposure.

Have to look into it, though, if only for Android phones.

“Android 2.0 “Donut” features demoed at Google I/O”

Universal search, of course, but:

We also got a brief glimpse of handwriting gestures used for searching through list – the live example was drawing the letter ’e’ and going to that specific point in a list of songs.

YES!

“Google’s browser forges ahead as Chrome 3 hits dev channel”

Chrome 3?! I guess they’re so used to being in everlasting beta that they’ve never had the opportunity to develop a sensible strategy about version numbers.

“Introducing Typekit « The Typekit Blog”

We’ve been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.

As a Typekit user, you’ll have access to our library of high-quality fonts. Just add a line of JavaScript—

Oops, you just lost me there.

In order to address the legal licensing problems inherent to linking to font files in CSS, you want to add… JavaScript? Does not compute.

“To Bing or not to Bing? Hands on with Microsoft’s new search”

Microsoft has finally taken the wraps off the new branding for Live Search, and the final name is Bing. We’ve known since March that a rebrand was coming, and we’ve been saying for even longer that Live Search is in dire need of one (among other improvements of course), but only recently did it become clear that Kumo was just the codename.

Microsoft Bing.

Jesus Motherfucking Christ.

 

Short matters. Being able to verb up can be helpful. We wanted something that unambiguously says search.

Huh.

“Google Wave Drips With Ambition. A New Communication Platform For A New Web.”

Wave was born out of the idea that email and instant messaging, as successful as they still are, were both created a very long time ago. We now have a much more robust web full of content and brimming with a desire to share stuff. Or as Lars Rasumussen put it, “Wave is what email would look like if it were invented today.”

I have to see this for real before I can decide if it’s revolutionary, or just a nice user interface. One thing’s for sure, though: Facebook seriously dropped the ball by not focusing more on real group conversations / collaboration before Google did.

 

The idea is to make the system as open for adoption as possible. The team wants to see Waves created by someone communicating with Waves created by someone else. “We want it to be an open system like email. We want other services to build Wave services even in competition with Google,” Lars Rasmussen told us.

And with that in mind, Google plans to open source Wave.

Ooh.

29 May

“D7 Interview: Jon Rubinstein and Roger McNamee”

If anything, the Pre and webOS will have allowed Rubinstein to ditch his status as “the bozo who didn’t want the iPhone to use OS X” and become instead a potential Jobsian figure, coming out of retirement to turn Palm around in a year and a half.

Now, as to whether that will be a success or a failure…

“Daring Fireball: Excerpts From the Diary of an App Store Reviewer”

This article just helped me formulate why I don’t like John Gruber as a person: lack of empathy. (Not that it’s rare among geeks, which is why nobody minds.)

I’m in the middle of my own battle with App Store reviewers — a battle not nearly as famous as those quoted in Gruber’s article — yet I’m able to realize that spending your days reviewing apps in ten minutes isn’t a fun job, nor necessarily a power trip; and organizing a whole department of people reviewing apps in ten minutes is an even worse job; and that it all stems quite inevitably from the original decision of having Apple approve apps for publication; and that this original decision wasn’t unequivocally wrong, either.

But it’s so much more fun equating reviewers to nazis (or Stasi officers, so that you remain one step removed from Godwin’s Law) and getting linked and retweeted all over the place.

“Did Palm License the iTunes API for Palm Media Sync?”

Still, they certainly are talking like they didn’t run this by Apple first. That raises all sorts of other questions: Will Apple break this functionality?  Will they sue?  Does Palm have so many powerful patents to hold over Apple that they’re effectively not afraid of Apple’s wrath?

First cogent analysis I’ve read since it’s been announced that the Pre would sync with iTunes. If they had waited to ask for a license, be denied, sue for monopolistic practices, and win, Palm would never have been able to launch with that functionality.

Chances are Apple will block it in an iTunes update, but then they will be the bad guy.

Five App Store financial reports (US, CA, JP, EU, world). One e-mail per report, all spread out through the day. FFS.

30 May

“Call sign - Wikipedia”

Broadcast stations in North America generally use call letters in the international series. There are some common conventions followed in each country. In the United States, the first letter generally is K for stations west of the Mississippi River and W for those east of the Mississippi.

I always wondered.

“Microsoft drops 3-app limit from Windows 7 Starter Edition”

I know people enjoyed screaming at that limitation, but it made sense — everything’s in the browser nowadays, and you don’t very often really need to run more than three apps at a time on an entry-level system, especially a netbook.

I find the inability to set a custom desktop background much more grating. And stupid, as system-tray utilities will obviously come out to add a custom image to your desktop.

“Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension”

Annoyances.org, which lists various aspects of Windows that are, well, annoying, says “this update adds to Firefox one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer: the ability for Web sites to easily and quietly install software on your PC.” I’m not sure I’d put things in quite such dire terms, but I’m fairly confident that a decent number of Firefox for Windows users are rabidly anti-Internet Explorer, and would take umbrage at the very notion of Redmond monkeying with the browser in any way.

31 May

“Mr. Blurrycam takes new iPhone’s features for a test drive?”

Please tell me those are fake and Apple isn’t gonna add yet another silly application we can’t remove from the home screen — we don’t need a separate compass app; the fucking magnetometer is for Maps.

“iPhone Apps on iPhone Simulator”

The iPhone Simulator is for Intel ia32/x86 CPU’s. ARM code won’t run on it. XCode compiles completely different object code for the Simulator and for the device. Only the device code for ARM CPU’s is uploaded to the App Store.

Holy shit, no wonder you get surprises when you finally run your apps on a physical iPhone. (And no wonder it’s not called iPhone Emulator.app, then.)

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