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

2 February 2010

“iPad frame leak shows webcam-sized gap”

It seems unlikely that Apple will add a new feature to the first-gen iPad before it has even launched, at least not when it comes to hardware, leaving the possibility that they plan a second-generation version using the same frame assembly. Of course, we’ll have to wait for the inevitable teardown post-release to know what’s inside for sure.

It’s absurd to think that Apple, with their state-of-the-art aluminum-milling factories they’re so proud of, would need or want or have any reason whatsoever to plan ahead some space for the iPad 2’s webcam components.

There’s still a minuscule chance that the video-conferencing reveal would be “one more thing” on the March keynote, but it’s more likely that removing the iSight (from all models, even the wifi ones, so that the more expensive model doesn’t looked gimped) was AT&T’s condition for that advantageous contract-free data plan.

“All The Many Ways Amazon So Very Failed the Weekend”

I honestly can’t figure out how any of this happened. Also interesting, I read yesterday that Amazon’s new offer to publishers, their incentive for lowering the prices on the Kindle, involved the book publishers not just distributing their e-books through the store, but sub-licensing the publishing itself to Amazon, so that the original publisher all but disappeared from the equation, not even controlling the prices at all anymore. (There’s a difference between agreeing, by contract, that the Kindle version of a book will never be more expensive than other versions, and letting Amazon set the day-to-day price.)

I can understand why that would be tempting for Amazon, but in both of those instances they’re very clearly falling into abuse of dominant position, and not the morally defensible kind (if there’s ever been such a thing).

“Rumor: Apple Has Another Tablet In The Works. More Like A Mac Than An iPhone.”

I guess I’m impressed that it took all of four days for the wishful thinking to come back full-speed. To be clear: there’s absolutely no doubt that multitouch Macs are in the future (and in Apple’s labs), because everything is going to get multitouch soon enough. But Steve is way too proud of his iPad to let another tablet blur the message gospel anytime soon.

The earliest time a multitouch Mac could be announced is next year’s WWDC.

3 February

Ooh, right. Now that I have Echofon Mac and Tweetie iPhone both handling lists, I can stop segregating my follows between two accounts.

4 February

“Apple Now Lets You Preview iPhone Apps In Your Browser”

To see this for yourself, open any direct link to an iPhone app in your favorite Web browser. You’ll notice that instead of only throwing up a dialog box prompting you to confirm that you wish to launch iTunes on your desktop, you’ll see a nice page with the app logo, price, description, screenshots, rating, reviews and more in a new window or tab.

That would be important news if the page didn’t still launch iTunes without asking if it isn’t running. Fix this.

5 February

“The $9.99 Ebook Is Dead: Third Major Publisher Hachette Dumps on Amazon”

Hachette’s the third major publisher to push for the agency model, following MacMillan and HarperCollins: They’ll set the ebook prices (higher, natch) and the bookseller takes a cut. The $9.99 ebook? Poof.

Amazon tried to pull an iTunes and make the e-book market viable in spite of the publishers, but that kind of trick only works once (and, even then, Steve Jobs knew not to try and get record companies to sell digital albums cheaper than the physical items).

And it’s too late for Amazon to encourage self-publishing on the Kindle; that one is up to Apple now.

6 February

“The Macalope Weekly: Pad derangement syndrome”

Back in the 1960s, designers of the lunar lander were having terrible trouble getting the thing to pencil out within the constraints they had. The astronauts needed a clear field of view, but a sitting astronaut requires a large swath of glass in order to gain peripheral vision.

So they took out the seats. Not only did that solve the sight problem, it also solved the weight problem and the problem of mobility within the lander.

That’s a very interesting user-experience story.

7 February

“Sneak peek: Future Photoshop masking technology”

In this brief demo, Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes shows off some new selection technology that offers better edge detection and masking results in less time–even with tricky images like hair.

Hopefully this helps explain why we put the Extract filter out to pasture in CS4.

Well, maybe if you’d explained it bett—wait, I misread that. Your justification for removing a limited-but-useful filter from the latest $50,000 Photoshop upgrade is that you’re going to release a better tool in the next $50,000 upgrade, or maybe the one after that?

Fuck off, maybe?

8 February

It’s not fair that Twitter starts whaling because of a regional sports event. At least Steve Jobs’s keynotes are universal.

I had no idea how easy it was to turn my Mac into a wifi access point. The trouble I went through trying to get that old router to work.

9 February

“What’s new in Aperture 3”

Way to bury the lede with the Places and Faces functionalities imported (a bit late) from iPhoto; the non-destructive adjustment brushes are the important bit. (The interface seems to be entirely lifted from Lightroom, but I don’t see any mention of edge detection on Adobe’s web page.)

Couldn’t care less about CPU upgrades on machines I can’t afford but I keep refreshing the Apple Store page because, hey, it’s an activity.

“App Store: quality control without the quality”

In fact, lots of software has lower quality because of the App Store process. Developers can’t easily get bug fixes out and they certainly don’t release new versions as often as they otherwise would. This harks back to the era where software was really cumbersome to release on CDs, so you did it much less frequently.

The part about bug fixes is a little exaggerated, but the thing about releasing fewer versions is true, and the CDs are an interesting analogy.

On the other hand, people don’t like to have to update, even when it only entails an automatic download and a longer sync next time you plug your device in. So it’s not necessarily a bad thing either that developers have to plan their release schedule more deliberately.

I’d like to test Google Buzz, quick! now! so I can write that it’s crap.

How often have you wished that Twitter started auto-following people you’ve emailed once? Yeah, me neither.

10 February

“4 Google Buzz Hacks for Users, Developers, and Haters”

Getting Buzz out of your inbox is simple, though, thanks to Gmail’s filtering mechanism. Here’s how to use it. [Just create a filter with “Has the words: label:buzz” — and ignore the warning that it won’t work.]

Technically, I love the way you get the latest comments on your beets in your inbox, and they’re displayed as a dynamic thread you can directly participate in, but I do not enjoy Buzz taking over my inbox in addition to the Buzz tab.

(Not to mention that those inbox notifications/threads appear unread even if you’ve seen the comments pop up live — with lovely Ajax — in the Buzz tab.)

Plus Echofon rēpond ā mes attentes, version aprēs version, plus ça me gave qu’il ignore les retours chariot.

“16GB iPad components estimated to cost Apple $219”

With a total parts cost of $219.35, that’s well below the starting price of $499 for the 16GB iPad, which does not offer 3G connectivity. Factoring manufacturing costs add just $10 to the total cost of the low-end model, bringing it to $229.35.

As stupid as those goddamned “analyses” always are, you gotta wonder how the comments don’t end with “If the numbers were so simple then why the fuck wouldn’t every single competitor be making a tablet just as good and selling it for $250 tomorrow?”

Well, probably because it’s pretty silly of me to look for intelligence in a copied-and-pasted iSuppli report.

11 February

I can’t believe so many of my contacts are rushing to disable Google Buzz. Didn’t expect them to like it, but didn’t see that coming.

Surprisingly, Google doesn’t seem to know what happens if you hit a snowman with a taser.

“Meat stylus for the iPhone”

Sales of CJ Corporation’s snack sausages are on the increase in South Korea because of the cold weather; they are useful as a meat stylus for those who don’t want to take off their gloves to use their iPhones.

“ Facebook Chat. Everywhere.”

Chat with your Facebook friends right from your desktop, using any instant messaging software.

Took them long enough. Hit the link for instructions.

Meanwhile, Google Reader doesn’t choke anymore when you copy and paste a feed:// address from Safari.

“De-Buzzed”

Polluting my context messes not just with my productivity (or progress, or enjoyment) but, first and foremost, with my patience. So yeah, Buzz stays off, and right now I’d rate it at 2.5 Farmvilles of noxious social radiation.

A Farmville being a unit I made up on the spot to measure social or web-based annoyances – 1 is the level at which you first sought out a way to block your Facebook friend’s updates regarding their finding a stray duckling or it getting run over my a lawnmower, etc., and 5 is being forced to read a complete thread in 4chan (with all the associated cognitive/cultural dissonance). Using Flash in your home page automatically gives you 1.5 Farmvilles.

“LESS.app For Mac OS X”

This. Is. Magical.

If you don’t know what Less is (I didn’t — or I must have heard about it once and promptly forgotten), it’s a Ruby application descended from Heaven to let you write parametric CSS files.

You can set up variables (e.g., color values) in the beginning of your file, reference them everywhere and only have to change the value once when you want to update the look of your entire site. You can do some math on those values (e.g., dimmer or brighter variations of those colors for some elements). You can create helper classes to include into the definition of other classes (e.g., cross-browser shadows or rounded corners), and they can even behave like functions (e.g., take the corner radius as a parameter). More info on lesscss.org.

It becomes annoying, though, in that every time you edit your CSS you have to run the file through a compiler — you can’t just upload the parametric CSS as is, you have to turn it into a regular .css file (at least as far as I know; maybe there is, or will be someday, an Apache plugin or whatever). Nobody wants to have to bother with that, and that’s where this excellent new app comes in: just give it a list of folders containing your .less files, and it will watch them and compile them into .css files every time they’re updated. There you go, .css files ready to be uploaded. (For now, the Less app doesn’t automatically send the compiled files to your FTP program, but the developer assures me that’s coming.)

If you’ve ever maintained somewhat complex CSS files, you know you want this.

 

A hint: if you want to install the Less compiler on Leopard (the application doesn’t install it by itself, for some reason), you’re going to need one more command-line instruction than documented on lesscss.org.

sudo gem update −−system

sudo gem install less

Also, the compiler can be a little picky about the CSS it wants to compile. For instance, having a comma-separated list of CSS selectors, with some of them commented out, will throw a syntax error. Just work around it.

“Marco.org - Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login”

I will now say two things that will shock most people who know me:

You should follow this link to ReadWriteWeb.

You should read the comments.

Seconded.

Oh. My. God.

Sometimes we don’t quite realize what it means that the entire planet is on Facebook, and that people use Google instead of the address bar for everything.

You can see the same effect on anything ranked highly by a Google search for “facebook login”, including this.

12 February

Gonna unfollow anyone who uses (via). If you can’t see it’s wrong not to know until the last word that it’s not you talking, I vote you off.

Either that, or I systematically reply as if it were your tweet. Oops, didn’t see the via. But I hate looking stupid, even intentionally.

“Flash & Core Animation on Mac OS X”

Flash Player engineers have been working closely with Apple to improve Flash Player performance on OS X, to the point where Flash Player 10.1 (now available for testing) will run faster on Macs than on Windows.

I’ll believe that when I’m dead.

Turning off Google Buzz (yes, really) until they fix shared items appearing unread in both Buzz and Reader.

“Zootool”

Zootool ‘lassos’ not only images, but documents (like PDFs), videos, and pages (not complete pages yet) and stores them in your ‘zoo’. Content can be organised into ‘packs’ (folders) and as you would expect, it stores the original URL, and offers fields to change the title, and add tags or a description. It also provides integration with services like Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, along with short urls, for sharing what you’ve found.

So, rather than having favourites being stored on different sites like Delicious, Vimeo, YouTube etc, they’re all in one place. In some ways I think of it as a huffduffer for anything that isn’t audio.

Interesting web application. Not sure I’ll use it, but you might want to check it out; here’s my profile.

The thing that’s really missing for me (and not trivial to add) is to capture a site as a whole screenshot — that would make it perfect for a scrapbook of visual inspiration.

The squareup.com intro video suddenly makes sense of the thing: It’s for hipsters! I didn’t realize it was a market; now I get it. Jesus.

Small change to my RSS feeds

Ways of consuming RSS feeds change over time; so do my posting habits. On the one hand, I’m not posting as many short links as I once did, and I doubt that’s going to change in the near future (in part thanks to Twitter, in part because my blogging has changed, and that’s the way it is). On the other hand, everybody’s using Google Reader for reading blogs nowadays, and that user experience is somewhat different from old-school aggregators — articles are displayed at a glance instead of having you pick from a list (I know that there’s a list view, but who uses that?), and the result is more conducive to short posts. Plus, Twitter has also changed the way people expect to receive their content.

For all these reasons, I’ve switched around the way my feeds handle small posts and links: the main feed (index.xml, the one everybody’s following) will be updated with every short post right as it is published instead of waiting for a daily digest at midnight. And those who think that’s too much content in the RSS reader can follow a digests feed instead (replace index.xml with digests.xml), that works the old way.

 

Those changes don’t apply to my Twitter posts, which will still be aggegated once a day. Because it’s pretty obvious that, if you want to get my tweets just as I post them, you should follow me right where I post them.

While I’m at it, the Twitter account that alerts you of new posts on my blog is renamed to @garooRSS (people who already followed it don’t have to do anything, it’s the same account).

“Fuck you, Google”

Fuck you, Google. My privacy concerns are not trite. They are linked to my actual physical safety, and I will now have to spend the next few days maintaining that safety by continually knocking down followers as they pop up. A few days is how long I expect it will take before you either knock this shit off, or I delete every Google account I have ever had and use Bing out of fucking spite.

Every social site trying to get bigger has made some mistakes regarding privacy settings, but Google outdid themselves with this one, just by definition — turning the most personal, intimate service on the internet into a public system without even a real warning, going as far as to publish existing content and relationships that you thought private. Isn’t it amazing that they never thought it could be a problem?

They probably do deserve to lose their users’ trust over this.

13 February

“iPhone Explorer - A USB iPhone browser for Mac and PC”

Want to put your iPhone or iPod Touch in disk mode? Use an iPhone as a flash drive? iPhone Explorer is an iPhone browser for Mac that lets you browse the files and folders on your iPhone as if it were a normal USB flash drive or pen drive. You can use the very easy drag-and-drop methods to add or remove files and folders from the iPhone. Compatible with all iPhones and iPod Touches including the new 3GS and 3.0 firmware. Works with or without jailbreaking.

Um, how the hell is that possible? I’m not touching this app with a ten-foot pole, but feel free to toy around and report back if you’re braver than me.

I don’t like the site, but I have to say I’m jealous of the idea of “tputh.com”.

14 February

“Buzz Drops Auto-Following, Won’t Automatically Connect to Google Services, Adds Better Disable”

First, they’ve replaced the auto-follow feature with auto-suggestions, letting you choose who you follow individually rather than automatically following everyone Google thinks you’d want to. Second, Buzz will stop automatically connecting to public Picasa Web Albums and Reader shared items. You can still connect these things, but you’ve got more choice.

That’s much better. Now all that’s needed is the ability to set your account to invite-only — I think private accounts kinda break Twitter, but in Buzz’s case (by virtue of being tied to your most private asset, e-mail) it’s a necessity.

I want to make an RPG / interactive graphic novel for the iPhone.

15 February

“Windows Phone 7 Series: Everything Is Different Now”

I don’t find it too visually enticing, but it seems like everything is well integrated and should be plesant to use; look at that home screen, a million times more functional than the iPhone’s — maybe Apple will see how it’s done, now, and not change anything for OS 4.0 because that would be admitting that Microsoft did better than them.

Not gonna get excited about anything Microsoft releases on a phone (except that the lack of Flash deserves celebration, I guess), but I must say that having Xbox Live achievements on the phone’s games is genius. It’s odd, though, how much they’ve downplayed third-party apps.

All in all, it’s a good answer to the iPhone, but I’m not sure who this is for — even with Xbox Live, it’s not going to grab the attention of casual users away from the iPhone, and the new OS’s emphases aren’t too professional, so I’d be surprised if businesses didn’t prefer to stick with 6.x.

YouTube video here (Silverlight not required for that).

“Tested: Opera Mini browser on iPhone”

Still, it does feel a lot like the company is flaunting Opera Mini on the iPhone so that it might be pushed through Apple’s approval process on a tide of widespread support, but Grønvold insists this is not the case.

The widespread support of actual iPhone users who are clamoring for a “better” web browsing experience? Hahaha! Or you’re talking about the support from a bunch of Linux geeks who will never ever buy into Apple’s closed platform anyway?

(Seriously, though, it’s been made pretty clear before that Apple would never let any third-party Javascript engine enter the App Store — regardless of the whole “you’re competing with our own apps” policy that’s reverted every other month.)

On the other hand, that Windows Phone home screen must look soooo sad if you’ve got no messages / no friends.

RT @rands: An account is a name and a password. Each additional thing you ask for doubles the chance I’ll bail during your sign-up.

“iPad: The Microwave Oven That Can’t Pop Corn”

Consider the humble Microwave Oven; when it first appeared it was expensive and, for a great many people, seemingly-pointless; “But, we already have a real oven. Can a microwave oven brown? Can it roast? Can it grill? Can it warm plates and roast a turkey and heat my coffee at the same time? It can’t do even half the things my real oven does. It’s overpriced and unnecessary and I don’t need one. And no one else will, either.”

[…] Nor has the microwave oven replaced conventional ovens. In fact, most of us have both appliances in the same room of the house.

16 February

“This is what a $15 phone looks like”

It’s a phone for the developing world that will debut for “well below” $15 in eight African countries.

You know you want one.

Echofon doesn’t seem to have filters. Twitter itself should allow content filtering. I want to remove all the Formspring and GReader spam.

Wonder which country will be the first to require a copy of all your internet passwords when you cross the border.

17 February

“Newspapers, magazines less keen on iPad than book publishers”

Having demographic information about subscribers has been an important asset to magazines and newspapers, especially when it comes to selling advertising. “Is it a dealbreaker? It’s pretty damn close,” an executive at one US newspaper told Financial Times.

That makes a bit of sense, actually. Now the question is, if you don’t have to print and ship the magazine, and your 70% share of the list price has to be spent on nothing other than the editorial budget, can the magazine still be profitable even if ad prices dwindle [more than they already have because print is dying]?

Maybe I’m wrong, but it feels to me like it would be profitable, and the real problem is that the publishers would like digital sales to pay for the deficit of keeping the obsolete presses and useless sales departments running. Because that’s usually how those things work and how those companies fail to grab a lifeline when someone throws it to them.

“The Wired Tablet App: A Video Demonstration”

The iPad version of Wired Magazine is going to be based on Adobe AIR and that very idea gives me a rash (what? you get a tiny chance to save your magazine and you tie yourself to a dying technology?), yet I have to admit that:

  • the virtual magazine looks really cool

  • if the creative department can really make all of this, month after month, all in InDesign, it’s a huge advantage over any other solution

  • the fact that it’s gonna be compatible with a bunch of different platforms with little to no additional development is another big plus

  • it helps that Adobe probably made the app for them at little to no cost

I’m curious to see how aggressive Adobe is going to be at pushing their solution to content publishers (I’m guessing: very), but when you take all of those points into account there’s really no other alternative quite as good and versatile.

If only Flash wasn’t involved in that equation — the app looks great in their demo on a tablet PC, but there’s no telling how sluggish and crashy the iPad version will be when it comes out of Adobe’s frankensteinian compiler.

“Information Resolution on the Windows Phone 7 Series”

Marketplace on the Windows Phone features one application with an icon, title, and one-line description. One touch gesture (drag/flick) later, there’s a menu consisting of six items. Tapping on “applications” takes you to another featured application. One more drag/flick and you are finally seeing three applications you can download. Contrast the amount of information present on this screen (the fourth in the process) with the amount shown on the iPhone’s initial App Store display.

While the Marketplace example is a little extreme (and Apple is helped by the fact that the App Store is a different application from the iTunes Store, which I hate — don’t know about you, but I keep launching one when I wanted the other), the question is: how much does this matter with a tactile interface? When you’re physically manipulating content, tapping this and dragging that, do you need as much of the information to be available at a glance?

Ever since I’ve started using the iPhone, I’ve thought the answer was no. Just flick to scroll. (Which is why, among other things, I wish the iPhone’s home screen let you scroll vertically in addition to paging horizontally.)

By the way, that will be illustrated further when I release the iPhone app I’m currently working on.

“Opera Mini for iPhone: Will Apple approve it?”

It’s not quite clear and I’m not certain (because Opera definitely wouldn’t be too proud of it it that were the case), but it sounds a lot like Opera Mini for the iPhone will just be a version of Mobile Safari that loads optimized data from Opera’s proxies.

If that’s the case, it definitely has more of a chance to be approved on the App Store, and I’m curious to see if the public takes the bait — the whole idea is the exact opposite of what browsing the web on an iPhone is about, but some people must be frustrated by slow network speeds and ready to try something new (abandoning all expectations of privacy in the process, among other things).

“Please Rob Me”

The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home.

I always thought about it when I uploaded a photo from inside the train to my parents’ — and I only did it because it was the middle of the day, and I made it a point not to mention how long I was going to be away.

“Apple Replacing Hard Drives on Old MacBooks for Free”

If you bought a MacBook sometime between 2006 and 2007, your gear could be eligible for a free hard drive replacement courtesy of Apple. Apparently drives in certain MacBooks of that generation shipped with defective drives.

Everyone I know who bought a MacBook around those times had a a hard drive crash (most of them under warranty), including the person who bought mine. It’s nice to see that’s not supposed to be the norm with all Apple laptops, even if it took them three years to realize there was a problem.

18 February

I can’t be bothered to fill out a comment form anymore when I know the blogger’s Twitter handle.

“Evidence that the immersion sensors are fallible”

They let an iPhone for an hour, in its original box, at a temperature of -11° C then let it rest for 24 hours. It has never been in contact with water yet, after they repeated the process three times, they could see the sensors had turned pink, particularly the one inside the headphone jack.

I’m still curious about the legality of those sensors. To be precise, I’m curious about how Apple hasn’t been sued yet for refusing to honor the warranty on a device that shows no visible trace of abuse except for the manufacturer’s entirely arbitrary tattletales.

Just realized that there must be an interesting market for iPhone apps with a Japanese version.

Finally printed myself an iPad. It’s kinda smaller and kinda bigger than I expected.

19 February

Just noticed, the closer you hold the iPad to your head, the bigger it looks.

“Microsoft reveals browser ballot screen, rollout begins next week”

Then there’s also the minor detail that the window still sports Internet Explorer branding. There’s the extremely recognizable icon on the taskbar and in the upper left corner of the ballot window. Is that enough of a hint to keep users clicking back to IE8?

Remember how clueless users are? They’re totally going to choose the one with Google’s logo, since the whole point is that they want to use the google. (And I’m pretty sure they’ve heard once or twice that “Internet Explorer is bad bad bad.”)

Apple made a very poor strategic decision, giving Microsoft a visual — I’m guessing the graphics must be supplied by the vendors, necessarily — without an Apple logo. PC users have gotten used to the apple, they’ve seen it on their iPods and iPhones.

P.S. Gotta like how the intro screen helpfully reminds you that “your browser” was “Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer.”

“Leaked: WinPhone 7 Series dev to use almost all managed code”

Two frameworks will be available for application developers on Windows Phone; one based on Silverlight, the cross-platform .NET environment that’s also being pushed as a competitor to Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR, the other based on XNA, Microsoft’s gaming platform, already used for hobbyist development on the Xbox 360.

That’s an interesting choice. Doesn’t sound very CPU- and energy-efficient, but it’s definitely going to make it easier for developers.

“Foxconn: Apple supplier in China roughs up reporter”

The police arrived, the guards apologized, and the reporter left without filing charges. Then the policeman told the reporter, “You’re free to do what you want, but this is Foxconn and they have a special status here. Please understand.”

That totalitarian regime has more polite policemen than we do. (Yeah, I know that’s not the point of the story.)

New pet peeve: multi-part tweets.

Get. Out. Of. Here.

20 February

“Daring Fireball Linked List: Devin Coldewey, Jackass”

Flash has always sucked performance-wise on Macs. It sucked on Mac OS 9 and has always sucked on Mac OS X. At one point Adobe even let the version of Flash Player for Mac OS lag behind the current version for Windows. Adobe has had over a decade of chances to show that they’re committed to making Flash Player sing on Apple’s OSes, and they haven’t done it.

Just a useful reminder.

“IUM Infinite USB Memory Device”

Infinitec’s IUM Infinite USB Memory Device is a USB dongle that is capable of streaming files sans wires from a paired computer to a connected game console, HDTV, photo frame, digital media adapter, or Blu-ray player, just as though they were stored locally on a USB flash drive.

That’s an interesting idea. (Even though most devices now get that functionality by default.)

Oi, Adium, if you don’t wanna connect to Facebook, then don’t, but stop bugging me about it!

C’est normal que Spotify ne marche pas ? (C’est la premiēre fois que je le lance depuis des mois.)

21 February

“Why Flash Is Fundamentally Flawed On Touchscreen Devices”

Flash on the iPad will not (and should not) happen — and the main reason, as I see it, is one that never gets talked about: current Flash sites could never be made to work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware. That’s not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It’s because of the hover or mouseover problem.

It’s a good point, and indeed often overlooked: apart from video (which can easily be made to work on Mobile Safari), 90% of the web’s Flash content would be unusable on the iPhone even if it did run, because most Flash interfaces hide everything behind mouseover.

So you’re going to have to redesign your website for touch-based interfaces anyway, and you might as well do it in HTML. It’ll even be cheaper.

(It’s funny that we’ve all been clamoring for tablets all these years, yet we never thought of future-proofing our interfaces.)

So many times I’ve wanted to slap the guy who decided the syntax for mktime().

Je m’apprēte ā reprogrammer entiērement le chat de @nopicnodial pour me passer de MySQL… en live sur le site. #ineedanintervention

22 February

Really, there’s no simple way to get the number of files in a directory in PHP?

I need to know it’s not just me: managing push on an iPhone chat app is a fucking nightmare, right? Or am I missing the easy way?

Looked at Apple’s developer forums, it’s confirmed: push notifications are a fucking mess to implement. But my users would buy them. Damnit.

Quatre ou cinq fois moins de charge serveur sur @nopicnodial avec le mēme nombre de connectēs qu’hier aprēs-midi. Reprogrammation rēussie.

“The secret behind green screens”

A YouTube video is obviously not the best place to judge the quality of visual effects, but I’ve seen a bunch of these shows and I wouldn’t have guessed that all the exteriors of Grey’s Anatomy were soundstage green screens. Remember when E.R. sent its actors to Chicago one week per year to shoot exterior scenes for the whole season?

Green screens are nothing new, but the really impressive point here is that those effects look that good while being more affordable and time-efficient than sending a couple of actors at the foot of Seattle’s Space Needle.

23 February

Do I really want to pay to renew my iPhone developer contract when all gay apps might be pulled from the Store any day now?

“Mystery key on iPad keyboard = Dashboard?”

MacRumors forum member macduke noticed this completely blank and apparently functionless key, and 9to5Mac picked up on his speculation concerning the mystery. 9to5Mac noted that it’s “…silly, even for Apple” to have a key on the keyboard that does nothing and goes nowhere, and they theorize it could have something to do with a Dashboard-like interface on the iPad.

I had noticed the blank key, and I think I mentioned it at the time, yet somehow it never occurred to me that it could be associated to unannounced functionality, and they just had blanked out the key’s label so that we couldn’t figure out what it meant.

Dashboard is indeed a perfect candidate. Also, Dashboard on the iPad may or may not entail a bit of multitasking there.

“Phil Schiller responds to sex app purge”

“It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see,” Mr. Schiller said.

Yeah. Grindr-likes (such as my own app) are clearly next on the chopping block. (Not for the exploitation of women, obviously, but that other thing.) I was going to try and implement push notifications, but what’s the point if the app is bound to disappear from the App Store, in the next purge if not this one?

When asked why the [Sports Illustrated] and Playboy apps are still available, Mr. Schiller replied, “The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format.”

Like Gruber said, while the rest of the decision is just debatable, this part is absolute, unacceptable bullshit. Probably actionable, even.

24 February

“Apple creating “explicit” category for App Store”

We received a tip and a screenshot (seen above) from a developer who pointed out the new “Explicit” category in the tool used to submit apps into the store.

What, now?!

25 February

“Apple Removes Explicit Option From iTunes”

He just got off the telephone with Apple, who confirmed the removal. According to the developer, Apple said that, while they are thinking about it, “it’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

Goddamnit, stop toying with us!

“Get a P8TCH at the Boing Boing Bazaar”

For $24.95, the buyer gets a 2x4-inch, velcro-backed commando patch with a cryptic design, and a unique QRcode. Not “unique” as in “remarkable”, but rather “unique” as in “each patch is different from every other”. Each patch has a short URL embedded on it that is controlled by the owner. You can choose to send it to your RSS feed, a PayPal donation page, or a YouTube video of last week’s comedically inept attempt to sled down a hill.

I kinda totally want one. (But $25?)

“Facebook Glitch Sends Messages to Wrong People”

Last night, in an embarrassing glitch for Facebook that raises questions about privacy on the site, some users of the social-networking service began getting hundreds of personal messages that weren’t intended for them.

Jesus-Christ, you can not afford to fuck that up.

Well, I guess you can, evidently.

“Dan Frommer Says Palm’s Decline ’Shows That Apple Is Screwed Without Steve Jobs’”

And if a bunch of [former] Apple geniuses can’t kick butt on their own at Palm, how are they going to kick butt without Steve at Apple?

That’s an interesting point, and I disagree with Gruber’s arguments about it. The thing is, though, that Palm failed for three reasons: (1) they were going against Apple, (2) they were two years late on the iPhone market, and (3) they didn’t have enough cash for the first webOS phone to be really good hardware.

None of those reasons will apply to Apple post-Jobs (for a while).

26 February

“Compress Your Mac with Squeeze”

Squeeze is very simple and straightforward: basically, it can keep track of some selected folders and compress them without visible differences to the user, but saving space in the background. It uses the latest HFS-comrpession technology built in Snow Leopard to compress all the files within a folder you choose to be processed. After the compression process, Mac OS will read the file again just fine […]

I’ve downloaded it (hey, it’s free on MacHeist, and they’re not even forcing you to tweet this time), but before I decide whether to install it I’ll wait for the technical reviews that don’t gush about it.

There’s a reason why OS X doesn’t compress the whole drive by default, and until I read more about the trade-offs implied by using Squeeze, I’ll stay on the fence. (The reason could simply be that it makes the drive unreadable from not-10.6 machines, which isn’t much of a problem.)

RT @secretsquirrel: Did you gu[FLASH AD]ys read that ar[ROLLOVER FLASH AD]ticle on Wi[FLASHING FLASH AD]red on how the iPad really need[MOVING FLASH AD]s Flash?

27 February

“Steve Jobs personally calls iTunes contest winner…who didn’t believe it was him”

Sulcer, who is a 70 year old grandfather to nine, won by purchasing Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way”.  He had no idea Apple was even having a contest.

Oh, come on. You want me to believe that the person who downloaded the 10-billionth iTunes song just happens to be a technology-literate 70-year-old grandfather who knows who Steve Jobs is — and listens to Johnny Cash?

When it takes a full day to figure out how to implement in-app purchases, I really hate Apple’s autistic engineers.

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