October 31, 2011
Christoffer Du Rietz On Android Hardware-Buttons

Link off of DF on how The Android Hardware-Buttons Are Broken.

The argument here is of course that Twitter is doing it wrong, that the back button should always bring you back one step inside the app, but that this inconsistency can even present itself in the OS shows a big conceptual faux pas when it comes to the Android UI.

Personally I have about 10 minutes total time with an android device, so I have no idea if this is apple fanboy flame bait or legitimate android conversation. It's interesting to see though, as I've never really thought about how the different buttons would work, as I'm not used to having them.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:50 PM
October 28, 2011
Firefox Share Plugin Alpha Release

Mozilla labs has released an alpha version of the Firefox Share plugin, letting you share from the URL bar to twitter, facebook and gmail. Very sweet.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:54 AM
Touch Based Concept Camera

The video of this WVIL concept camera actually made my heart beat faster, and the desire to stand up and scream "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!" was almost unbearable.

Other than the fact that most cameras with touch interfaces are horrible and that it's not always the better user interface compared to just having a button or dial that you can feel with your fingers and change without looking up from the viewfinder, this thing seriously gives me a full on geek-on. I also didn't get that the user was able to move the digital back (the iPhone like part) around without the view of the subject changing was because the lens was remotely sending it's view from the table. Impractical for some situations of course, but still....

We're not that far from this, the software basically looks like a combination of a bunch of smart phone photography and video apps, so it's just a matter of the hardware working.

Can you tell how much this excites me? Full details here from Artefact.

Now shut up and make this camera!

Posted by Arcterex at 10:43 AM
October 27, 2011
Productivity Future Vision from Microsoft Office

Productivity Future Vision is a concept video from the MS office team, showing some very cool ideas about what things could be like in the future. A grand vision full of responsive touchscreens everywhere with full connectivity and 3D and everything connected, in a very Minority Report type future (but shiny and happy not dark and depressing). Of course, you also don't see anyone doing any real work (ie: typing) and it seems like the computers are doing most of the work. Also you can't alt-tab to the Windows 7 desktop either, unlike Windows 8. Just sayin' :)

Posted by Arcterex at 11:04 AM
October 26, 2011
Rick's Rant for Jamie Hubley

Rick's Rant for Jamie Hubley hits it right on the money. Ahmen I say, and I applaud him for saying it. From the transcript:

Every year in this country 300 kids take their own lives. It is a mind-boggling number. And this past week one of those kids was Jamie Hubley. He was 15, he was depressed and he happened to be gay.
Posted by Arcterex at 05:05 PM
Did Android Really Look Like BlackBerry Before the iPhone?

Did Android Really Look Like BlackBerry Before the iPhone?

To summarise the argument: before the iPhone, Android looked like a BlackBerry clone, and after the iPhone, it looked like an iOS clone.

Presented to show that I grow bored of "iOS vs Android", and not all the things that us "ios people" link to is true.

Posted by Arcterex at 05:01 PM
John Hodgman's "That is All" Book Trailer

That is All.


Posted by Arcterex at 01:15 PM
Nokia Introduces New Windows Phone 7 Phones

The first new Windows Phone 7 Phones from the Nokia / Microsoft partnership (started 8 months ago) poked their heads up at Nokia World.... the phones are the Lumia 710 and 800.

The 710 is a "... colorful and affordable [...] no-nonsense smartphone that brings the Lumia experience to more people around the world". I read that to be that it's a lower end more affordable phone. The 800 is "stunningly social" and has "vivid colors".

See the press release for full specs, or this macrumors link for more details.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:24 AM
October 25, 2011
Ars Re-Reviews the Original iPod

Interesting look back at The original iPod, 10 years later in review format, over at ars technica.

Of interesting note to the "silly apple people who can't change their batteries" folks is this paragraph:

"But Jacqui," you're yelling at the screen, "aside from the hard drive and click wheel, the battery is the next most likely thing to die over time!" This does tend to be true, especially of battery tech from 10 years ago. But the original iPod in its heyday was no wimp--Apple bragged of a 10-hour battery life, which was impressive by 2001 MP3 player standards. We hardly expected to get 10 hours out of a 10-year-old battery, but when messing with our little Apple artifact, we did manage to squeeze out a solid eight hours of music jamming before it petered out. Not bad, iPod, not bad.

Not that batteries don't crap out, but maybe not as fast as you'd expect.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:05 PM
Brent Simmons on Google Reader

Wherein I try to explain why Google Reader is the best social network created so far is a great article on Google Reader, it's new upcoming features, and the good and bad therein.

Via DF.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:49 PM
ISP Survivor - iPhone Userfriendly Game

So I had no clue this existed until I got what I almost deleted as spam this morning. JD and his gang has released ISP Survivor, a game for the iPhone and iPad.

Join Miranda, Pitr, Greg, Mike, Sid and AJ as they trundle around the board collecting their items. Pit yourself against the computer or play with your friends! From 1-6 players you'll have a devil of a time collecting these three measly little items! Watch out for Stef or you'll lose a turn! The ever lovable Dust Puppy will help you go faster and Mr. Cola will give you a boost too! Beat up other players for their booty with the Big Foam ClueBat or the Cheap Plastic LightSaber!

For $1.99 in the app store you really can't lose!

Posted by Arcterex at 09:52 AM
The Nest Learning Thermostat

Words cannot express how awesome looking the Nest Learning Thermostat looks. Assuming it full fills it's promise, I'm all in. Sadly the store is down right now so I can't plunk down $250 for a pre-order. You can find out more at this gigaom article.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:29 AM
The Query of Despair

Wow, I thought that some of the auto-generated SQL from the depths of wordpress were bad... that's before I saw The Query of Despair over at The Daily WTF.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:21 AM
October 24, 2011
Linux Kernel 3.1 Released

Big day as Linux Kernel 3.1 is released. Notable changes include NFC chip support, a new iSCSI implementation, userspace power management and Wii controller support. In short, lots of techie stuff, but not a whole lot that one could write bit banners about. This isn't a bad thing, Linux is a mature kernel that I don't see a lot of "big" changes coming to any time soon.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:29 AM
Star Trek Is Just Around the Corner

Great infographic via Forever Geek: Star Trek Is Just Around the Corner.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:25 AM
Google Map Maker for Canada

The google maps blog has announced that us Canucks can now add local knowledge to the map with Google Map Maker for Canada. Interesting as well is a link to Google Pulse which lets you see map updates in real time. Kinda trippy to watch people add and edit items to maps all over the world.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:11 AM
October 21, 2011
Ruby 2.0 Implementation Work Begins

Ruby Inside has What is Ruby 2.0 and What's New?

Posted by Arcterex at 11:27 AM
Chronicle Trailer

Very cool movie trailer for a movie called Chronicle which gives a more realistic view of what would happen if "normal" people got superpowers. Really looking forward to this :)

Posted by Arcterex at 11:13 AM
MobileMount Kickstand for Phones/Tablets on Kickstarter

Just wanted to say that I just became a backer of the MobileMount a Suction Cup Mount & Kickstand for Phones/Tablets on Kickstarter. They are within $200 of their goal of $20,000 and I'm more than happy to say that based on what I've seen, it's a nice little project that will fix the "man I wish I had a way to have my phone GPS work while I'm driving" thing. It's just a mount (not power/audio), but for a mere $25 pledge, there's no way to lose. Grab one yourself!

Update: And 20 minutes later they hit the $20,000 goal, though I doubt somehow I was a huge amount of help :) Looking forward to getting my MobileMount though :)

Posted by Arcterex at 09:42 AM
October 20, 2011
BF3: Multiplayer Trailer  

BF3: Multiplayer Trailer. Man I can't wait for this to come out. And the lottery I need to win to buy a PC powerful enough to run it of course.

Posted by Arcterex at 03:52 PM
6Wunderkinder Announces Wunderkit

The Wunderkit show is about to start from 6Wunderkinder, the company that produces the excellent cross platform task list application Wunderlist. Wunderkit is to help organize as and it appears that the task list is the first step towards this. Information on the page is a little light, but looking at the screen shots it looks likes a fully formed task / calendar / collaboration and note taking system (probably).

When you sign up for the beta you get a special code (ie: www.wunderkit.com/9JYWOq) which when others sign up with (please and thankyou) will bump you up in the waiting list a bit.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:09 PM
Looking Back on Ubuntu

OMG Ubuntu has a look back at previous versions on Ubuntu's 7th Birthday, which is today. Fun walk back down memory lane.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:47 PM
Upcoming Changes to Google Reader

Maybe I'm the weird one, but I love google reader and live in it every day. Nice to hear that there are some Upcoming changes to Reader from the official google reader blog. As long as they don't mess with things I'll be happy to see new design tweaking and closer integration with Google+.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:18 PM
Great Siri / iPhone 4S Parody

Great iPhone 4S (Parody) found via r/iphone.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:08 AM
October 19, 2011
Michael Winslow gets the Led out

Michael Winslow gets the Led out.

The first 28 seconds are like, oh, I've heard this before yawn zzzzzzzzzz WHOA, WHERE THE HELL DID THAT GUITAR NOISE COME FROM??!

Uhm.. Wow.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:48 PM
Lytro Now Ready For Pre-Order

Remember the Lytro? That camera that you can focus with after the fact? Well, it's now for sale, $399 for an 8G model, $499 for a 16G. Interesting (revolutionary? odd?) format as you can see in the images on the camera page. Still, I was expecting a pro level cost for something the size of a truck when this came out, the fact it looks like a real consumer product and under $500? Amazing.

I'm really interested to see how this works in real life (as with all things). The 8G model will store 350 images, my math is fuzzy so you'll have to figure the megapixels, as the details page says it's 11 "Megarays", which I assume sort of translate to MP.

I can't wait till some pro folks get their paws on this one.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:34 PM
Siri Running Successfully On All iOS 5 Devices

I'm not sure how it's possible, but apparently @Jackoplane has gotten Siri Running Successfully On All iOS 5 Devices, No Jailbreak. Not sure how you'd run it (as a normal app maybe?) and if so does it hook in and integrate the same as Siri on the 4S (no idea how).

Still, I'm excited for this, especially in the "is it restricted to the 4S because of marketing or technical reasons" question.

Update: Jack says you do need to jailbreak to get it to work.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:22 PM
In Depth with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich"

Google's dev site has Android 4.0 highlights for users site goes a bit more in depth with what users and android geeks alike can expect from the new OS.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:11 AM
Google's Galaxy Nexus Site Live


Wow, amazingly slick site, using the funky 'scroll down' mechanism I've seen recently. Nice overview of the high points of the new Nexus phone (hey Google, wanna hit me up for a demo unit?), and a few tech specs as well.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:08 AM
October 18, 2011
First Look at the Highly Polished Android 4.0

Via Aryk - First Look at the Highly Polished Android 4.0, "Ice Cream Sandwich" from Lifehacker.

Some nice looking stuff, and from the looks of it some iOS level polish in terms of consistency and some of the UI elements. Things like unlocking the phone with the camera (image recognition stuff) looks pretty sweet too.

The link has lots of info, and I'm sure Wednesday will be a day full of emerging information.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:30 PM
Canon EOS-1D X Announced

Via my buddy Duncan from Lens & Shutter, looks like the Canon EOS-1D X professional DSLR has been announced. Surprised it's not the mythic 1DS Mark 3, however the new machine looks pretty impressive. Here are some high points:

  • Available early 2012
  • 18 Megapixel full frame sensor
  • Full HD video
  • Dual Digic 5+ processors (17x faster)
  • 61 AF points
  • 10-12 FPS (remembering that this is full RAW on a huge sensor)

The DPReview overview has a lot more in depth details if that sounds delicious to you :)

Another page has a lighter weight look at the features, along with icons for dummies like me to easily understand what's going on :)

Posted by Arcterex at 09:13 PM
Adobe admits using 'synthetic blur' image in deblur demo

Digital Photography Review has an article where Adobe admits using 'synthetic blur' image in deblur demo. That deblur demo that I posted here and said "We'll see how well it works in real life though." Yea, guess there isn't much difference between magic and a carefully done stage demo. They basically took a sharp image, applied fake blur to it from a real source, then de-blurred it to (*shock*) amazingly good results.

I really wonder if this'll blow up in their faces, causing them to lose the customer's faith and have a huge PR disaster, or if it'll blow over as a "duh" and "it was a tech demo anyway". Guess time will tell.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:09 PM
Instant Elevator Music Windows App

Aryk sent me this: Instant Elevator Music Automatically Plays Whenever You Move Files Around. How is this not the most needed windows utility in history?

Posted by Arcterex at 02:22 PM
Motorola Motoactv

Motorola has released their new Motorola Motoactv touchscreen device for music playing and vitals tracking for exercise.

Looks oddly familiar as I'm sure anyone who has seen the iPod Nano I'd guess.

From the intro post:

It's official, Motorola's just officially unveiled Motoactv (not to be confused with these guys), its very own music and fitness device. The little running mate sports a 600MHz processor, runs Android and weighs a healthy 35 grams. It'll apparently track your heart rate, and log running, walking and cycling statistics, and packs GPS to track your exercise routes.

Sort of like an Nano + Nike+ on steroids, but at a fair premium over it. $249 vs $129 (though the more expensive Motoactv has a built in GPS).

Posted by Arcterex at 01:54 PM
Iris Is (Sort Of) Siri For Android

Found over in r/android, check out Iris, which is (Sort Of) Siri For Android. Not sure if it has the context aware stuff that Siri has, but definitely looks like it has potential to fill the gap above and beyond "send text to..." and "play song..." in voice recognition.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:36 PM
My Quick Review of Ubuntu 11.10

So Monday morning I finished the Ubuntu 11.10 install on my work laptop and got a bit of a feel for the new UI and changes. I posted on my Google+ account two posts that might be of interest:

Posted by Arcterex at 09:12 AM
October 15, 2011
Siri voice command system ported from iPhone 4S to iPhone 4

As I predicted, took less than a day. That said, if you watch the video you'll see that it's sloooooooooooooowwwwww. I was about to jump on the "see, it does need the hardware" bandwagon as the reasoning, but according to the article:

The issue here is not Siri, but is that a special GPU driver for iPhone 4 is needed; and it is obviously not included in the iPhone 4S binary cache - where the Siri files are located.

I'm not 100% sure if it's just that this driver isn't for the iPhone 4 because Siri is (obviously) designed for the 4S or if there's more going on under the hood. Maybe the extra powerful new GPU processor is taking an offload of more than just some of the graphics for the Siri system and that's the reason that the app is 4S only.

I'm hoping that the smart folks out there will continue on with the project and hopefully get something a bit more usable.

Posted by Arcterex at 07:01 AM
October 14, 2011
Official Google Blog - Bye Bye Buzz, Code Search, and More

A fall sweep over on the google blog notes several products that are getting nuked, including (yay I think) Buzz.

Posted by Arcterex at 02:28 PM
'Rome Sweet Rome': Reddit Thread Gets A Movie Deal

From the Huffington Post: 'Rome Sweet Rome': Reddit Thread Gets A Movie Deal. Here's the original thread that spawned the movie (someone started writing a story in the comments in response to the question of "could a team of modern day marines destroy the Roman empire?").

Posted by Arcterex at 11:56 AM
The Windows 8 Task Manager

Sort of an interesting article over on the Building Windows 8 blog about the The Windows 8 Task Manager. It gets more interesting in the 'Lighting up the resource usage' section where some of the interesting new changes are shown, such as changing the colors of columns and data in the task manager when something runs over a usage threshold (ie: quicker visibility of what's sucking up all the CPU or memory).

Posted by Arcterex at 09:58 AM
October 13, 2011
My iOS5 Review

So I've now been using iOS5 and the new Lion 10.7.2 update for about a day, and I figure that would give me enough insight to write up a quick little review.

In General

Mostly the same, not so revolutionary and mind bending that you'd notice any differences without looking. Good and bad of course, no one likes massive changes, but we all like something to remind us we're using something new. There are some changes in the UI of course, the on/off/yes/no switches have changed appearance, and there are other subtle tweaks.

The Bad

Sometimes Apple does things that make no sense to me and piss me off. In this release it did two of these things.

  1. Split the "iPod" app, which previously played your movies, podcasts, audiobooks, and music all from one convenient location; into two separate apps, "Music", and "Video". I don't use a lot of the video functionality from my iPhone, so the video playing parts of the iPod app were pretty much ignored, but the problem is they have now created another Apple app icon that I can't delete from the phone and have to hide away in some back corner folder like the stocks and calculator apps.

  2. The Newsstand app is great for the iPad but honestly the iPhone screen is way too small to properly appreciate the magazines that are offered. However they have created YAAITICDFMI (Yet Another Apple Application Icon That I Can't Delete From My iPhone) and has to be hidden away in the back corner with the Video app, but this app can't be put in a folder. Yes you read that right, the Newsstand application icon cannot be put in a folder on your home screen, unlike every other application icon, Apple created or not.

    I can only guess this is either a) a bug or b) some misguided attempt to give it more visibility (I think that Microsoft calls this "surfacing functionality"). Maybe because if it's in a folder you can't see the pretty magazine icons appearing as your subscription pulls them down? I can only hope that it's "a" - a bug.

    The reason for this I found is that the Newsstand application is a magic folder itself, and as you know iOS doesn't allow you to have a folder in a folder. There is also a workaround if you really don't want to have Newsstand outside of a folder.

    As for the app itself I played around a bit and the "free" magazines I installed all were just the magazine "app", and to get content you had to do in app purchases for $5 for an issue. The New York Times was the exception here, and it had a nice mobile interface. Still, I think this will be much like iBooks and simply not be used by me, until I get an iPad and have a better device for a reading experience of course.

For the bad though, that's all I've found so far, and both those problems are currently hidden away on my very last home screen.

The Good

Lots of nice little tweaks can be found. Obviously the notifications are awesome. I don't have access to an Android phone, but from what i can tell this brings iPhones dismal state of push notifications into parity with the Android OS, which is great news for iOS users. Androiders mock all you want, this makes us happy, and we're happy that Apple stole from the current best of breed notification system out there. Getting the "slide to go to action" functionality from either your lock screen or the notifications pull down is great and very useful.

The Camera
The Camera from lock screen is also a welcome change, I daresay that this is going to be my favorite new feature as a photographer. The camera app starts more quickly as well it seems, but that could be just the new-install smell. I'll re-visit this in a week or two and see if it's still as good. I don't' do a lot of image editing on the phone, and when I do it's more specific than the new functionality in the Photos app, but that's nice to have for the times you need a quick crop, red-eye, or auto-enhance.

This system is a way for you to send free text messages between iOS 5 phones. Like face time, it's baked right into the "Messages" app (where you send your SMSs), no need to open another app, no need to create an account, you just need the newest version of iOS. At first I thought this was going to be one of those "Apple giveth, Apple taketh" apps where you have to send messages to a user at their @me.com account to have it work, but no, SMS your friend at their phone number as normal, and if they have an iPhone that's got iOS5, the message bubble will be blue instead of green and you'll know that the message isn't being added to your SMS limit for your plan (if you're like me and don't have unlimited texts).

Reminders App
The new Reminders app is nice as well. I'm a bit of a slut for productivity / TODO applications, with AppiGo's "Todo" being my current favorite, but I am wanting to give Reminders a shot. It has one feature that is either a great demo or actually amazingly useful, that is the location based reminders.

If you haven't used it, you basically set a reminder like you would in any app, and in addition to a due time, you have a location field and you can set to to remind you when, for example, you leave your current location. This worked great for me in my test with two minor caveats. You can't seem to set the radius that it kicks in at, so when I was reminded down the street when I left my location tonight that might have been too far or too close for you, but that's a bit of the apple way. It might also depend on the resolution and detail of GPS coverage you have as well. Secondly (and this should be obvious) the GPS on your phone will be active until all location based reminders are completed (or else how will it know where you are when you leave). So the idea of having a bunch of these for when you are near the grocery store, home, and the office might not be a good idea depending on battery drain.

The resolution of the GPS might be set purposefully wide as well to reduce the battery drain caused by polling, causing it to not use as much battery and to have a slightly less accurate location reminder "net". Another thing that will become more obvious with testing.

Reminder will sync through iCloud (more on that in a second) with the reminders check boxes in your iCal calendar (at least on OS/X). It nicely separates them into separate lists as well, based on what calendar your reminders are for. I had a bunch that were pre-populated and I had to figure out where they were coming from, I was wondering if maybe Apple was smart enough to pull data right out of Todo! Sadly no. While you get over the air syncing with Reminder for free, the sophistication of the app leaves much to be desired, compared to Todo. However for what it is, it does it's job well and doesn't shut out competition from other apps.

Now if only the other apps would add in the location aware secret sauce!

iCloud on iOS and OS/X
I have had mobile me for a couple of years, only the last year however because I forgot to cancel it. Having it mostly because paying $99 was worth having the over the air sync of contacts and calendar entries between my phone computer and website, as well as the "find my iPhone" feature (of course that was after my iPhone was stolen in 2008).

Since then though things have changed. Find my iPhone is free, and now Mobile Me has converted to iCloud. iCloud is basically mobile me, but now it's baked even more deeply into iTunes, OS/X, iOS and the various apps that use it. Here's a video link to Apple's description of it.

Converting from Mobile Me to iCloud is easy and step by step, just run through it on the website and as long as your OS (phone or computer) is the right version, after a few seconds (you back everything up before you start this of course) you get a notification that everything is upgraded. That easy.

Using it is a bit harder. Not that it's hard to use, I mean; it "just works", but not much really uses it. I'm not a user of Keynote or Pages on mobile so that doesn't really work as a test case, and I know as time goes on more applications will put it to use. Right now though the best example is that I can take a picture with my phone and a couple of minutes later (not quite as instant as they show in the video) it will appear in iPhoto in a Photo Stream album. Of course you have to turn these on in various control panel settings on your computer, iPhone settings, and of course know to go to the 'Photo Stream' source in the left hand side. Still, once it's up and working, it seems to work well.

One downside of the move is that you lose your mobile me gallery, so if you want to access your images from a website, you're out of luck unless you share them off manually through flickr, Dropbox, email, twitter or similar. Hopefully apple will replace this functionality soon.

I'm really looking forward to what will happen with this in the future.

The "Meh" (Or The I Don't Know Enough to do Anything But Guess)

Honestly no clue, it's not available for the iPhone 4, and since Rogers would charge me an extra $340 (on top of the subsidized cost of the phone), I most likely won't be getting one until my contract is up.

There are a couple of different ways to look at Siri only being on the iPhone 4S.
The pessimist would say it's a shameless money grab by Apple to sell more of the new phone, and quite frankly, I'm sure in part it is. I don't begrudge them for making money though, they are a company whose job is to make money. Other thoughts people have put forward though, one that this is a slow rollout starting with the 4S and later moving to the 4 to see how the load goes on their new data centres. This would be nice to think (as an iPhone 4 user at least). Another idea is that there is something in the iPhone 4S hardware that is required for the Siri processing. Some new voice de-mangling chip, an accent normalizer DSP.... something like that. Again, a possibility, we'll see what happens when the iTearStuffApart guys get a hold of the new hardware.

I think of it a bit like this, if Honda was to replace the whole interior of my 2 year old car with brand new seats, trim, and everything except for the current new fancy Blaupunkt radio (leaving my crappy default version), I'd still be pretty happy.

WiFi Sync
Much as I'd love to be able to say that this feature brings iPhone in parity with what Android has had for ages, I don't think it is. Since no one has given me an Android phone to test for a couple of weeks yet (any googlers want to help me out here?) I don't know exactly how the sync works on it, so I can only tell you how the Apple system works.

My dream for Wifi sync was that when I was on a wifi connection I could hit the sync button and my phone would magically sync my podcasts, any new apps, music, etc though the internet through iCloud.

It almost works like this, except you have to be on the same network as your main "syncing" machine, and plugged in. Being the Apple media model is a single location to sync all your stuff from, this does make sense. Maybe in the future the sync system will utilize iCloud and it will work more like this. Having to be plugged in makes sense as well (for the auto-sync) for battery life, though you can trigger it manually.

Other Updates
Safari, Mail, and various other apps got tweaks and twiddles that add polish to their already great experiences. No doubt others can write about this stuff is far more detail than I can. A few details I did notice:

  • Long song or podcasts titles now auto-scroll in the Music app, resolving a huge nitpick I've had for ages where the title would cut off after a certain number of characters and there was basically no way to view the full title of a song or podcast if it was long (as they tend to be).

  • Safari now has Reader and Reading List integration, open links in background, and private browsing, and also feels faster (again this could be just the new car smell of a new OS install)

  • More fonts, Emoji, multiple routes in the maps app, and much more. Great coverage over on MacStories.net for a nice long list.

Additional resources for iOS5 information can be found at such sites as:

Opera 12 Alpha Released

The Opera web browser released an alpha version of 12.00 with lots of support for lots of funky new technologies (new HTML5 parser, WebGL, etc).

Posted by Arcterex at 04:51 PM
Ubuntu 11.10 Review From Lunduke.com

Lunduke.com has a good » Ubuntu 11.10 Review. Short story, he likes it.

And they pulled it off. By Jove, they pulled it off.
Posted by Arcterex at 11:54 AM
iOS Users Get 50G Storage At Box.net (updated)

Note: this starts this friday at 12:01am Noon some time friday, see the link PST, not right now. It's also unclear if you are required to create an account from the iOS app or not. Guess it's an easy test in 14 hours :)

I'm not a box.net user, but after seeing that they are Giving iOS Users Insane Amounts of Free Storage (50G) I'll be heading over and getting an account.

This is a response to iCloud's 5G free storage, though I don't think that box.net understands that iCloud isn't simply a dropbox-like solution, but more about integration with apps. Still, 50G free storage is nice :)

Posted by Arcterex at 09:54 AM
Dennis Ritchie, Creator of UNIX and C, Dead at 70

Sad news :( Dennis Ritchie, Creator of UNIX and C, Dead at 70.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:48 AM
Ubuntu 11.10 Released

Yup, after a full day of releases in the Apple world yesterday, today is all about Ubuntu, with Ubuntu 11.10 released by Canonical. If you haven't had a chance to hear about this, check out the tour (which by the way, is about the coolest thing I've ever seen, a full HTML5 (I assume) UI of the Ubuntu desktop... wow. Check out what happens when you install an application in the software center).

Check out the full desktop features here.

Not a huge amount else to say, download, install and enjoy. That's what I'm going to be doing tonight after work (or to be safer, this weekend when I'll have time to un-break anything that messes up as this is my work machine) :)

Huge congrats to the Ubuntu team!

Posted by Arcterex at 09:12 AM
October 12, 2011
Google engineer calls Out Google About Google+

Google engineer calls Google+ a "pathetic afterthought" and "knee-jerk reaction" - making the rounds this morning.

Summary: A Google software engineer who accidentally broadcast a 4,578-word rant about the company's failings saved his toughest criticism for the Google+ service. A list of features can't make up for a complete lack of vision and a company where "not getting it" is endemic.

Update: Just re-reading this and I'm wondering if one could draw a bit of a parallel between Apple and [insert ipod/ipad/iphone killer manufacturer here]. the section where it says:

Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: "Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let's go contract someone to, um, write some games for us." Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.

This is, IMHO, similar thinking to companies believing that they can create an "iPod killer" by producing something that does the same thing but also has an FM tuner and racing stripes, and not understanding that a big portion of what makes Apple's products successful is the backend infrastructure and that people and developers have come to build Apple products and apps because they want to and that's why the (eg) iOS app ecosystem is as good as it is now, not because someone's gone to the Angry Birds people and said "here's some $$, build your app for our platform."

I might be wrong of course, but it's an interesting parallel.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:45 PM
October 11, 2011
Hands On iPhone 4S Video

MacRumors has some hands on videos of the iPhone 4S in action, including some siri action.

Posted by Arcterex at 11:58 AM
Photoshop Image Deblurring Sneak Peek

Assuming you haven't seen this already the Photoshop Image Deblurring sneak from Adobe MAX 2011, you should check it out. It looks like a lot better than just an uber-sharpen or various "omg amazing deblur magic" software that's come and gone. We'll see how well it works in real life though.

For photographers (and people who just want their pictures to not suck as much) this looks like it has the potential to be fairly game changing.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:46 AM
Google Debuts Dart, a JavaScript Alternative

Because there aren't enough programming languages in the world yet, Google has debuted Dart, a JavaScript alternative.

I haven't actually had a chance to look too in depth to this, as this last weekend I was knee deep in (Canadian) Thanksgiving, turkey, and relatives, but it looks like Dart is aimed as a replacement to Javascript, not an easier way of writing it (as something like CoffeeScript is). Of course for this to work you'd have to have it adopted in all mainstream browsers, or have fallbacks to Javsascript (for older browsers like IE6 that are still in use but aren't going to be ever updated with new technology). Of course Chrome will support it, and if it's good enough, hopefully will propagate out into other browsers.

You can check out more of the language at http://www.dartlang.org, including tutorials and tech overviews.

Update: You can look at this gist as well (link from reddit) to see what happens when dart is compiled to Javascript. The github comments are worth scrolling through 17,000+ lines of compiled Javascript.

Posted by Arcterex at 10:02 AM
The Avengers Trailer

The Avengers trailer is finally here. Kudos to Eldon for sharing this link over on Facebook. I'm posting this before I watch the trailer, but I am going to go with the guess that it is going to be awesome.

Here's another (though looks like there's a different guy playing the hulk, so not sure what's going on with that).

Posted by Arcterex at 10:02 AM
October 07, 2011
Rant Worth Listening To

Hilarious (and true?) Rant worth listening to over on youtube. Via a coworker. Note there is strong language, so wear headphones or if your ears are sensitive, don't listen :)

Posted by Arcterex at 09:06 AM
October 06, 2011
The Ultimate 80's Tribute Video

If you're a child of the 80s you'll definitely want to check out The Ultimate 80's Tribute video. Amazingly awesome.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:06 PM
Mark Pilgrim commits "Infosuicide"

Via a coworker a story on slashdot about Searching For Mark Pilgrim as the notable author of the "dive into mark" and "dive into html5" sites has apparently committed infosuicide and deleted all his online presence, sites, twitter, etc, in a move similar to what Why the lucky stiff did in 2009.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:33 AM
October 05, 2011
Andy Ihnatko On Steve Jobs

If you're on the internet tonight at all you will see hundreds if not thousands of posts about Steve Jobs and his passing most of them remembering him, thanking him, and honoring him. Even the people who are not "apple people" are saying that he will be missed and had an immense impact on technology and the world in general. Instead of flooding the site with a ton of Steve Jobs posts I figured I'd simply post something from someone who I respect i the tech industry, and who I listen to every week through various podcasts. Here's what Andy Ihnatko has to say about Steve Jobs, and in this case, an Apple store.

[...] Steve Jobs was correctly known as the most productively hands-on CEO in technology or maybe even any other industry. The Apple Stores were a particular obsession. If you walked in and discovered that the table of hard drives had become a table of headphones and the hard drives were now on the third shelf of the first bank of product shelves, it was probably because of something Steve decided earlier in the week.

Steve is dead. But you walk into an Apple Store and you see all the reasons why he was such a phenomenal CEO, and why so many people feel the way I do tonight.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:17 PM
Steve Jobs Passes Away at 56

Sad news coming through the various social networks, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple has passed away. The Remembering Steve Jobs page is up at Apple.com, and I'm sure the next week or two will be online debates as to whether he was hitler or jesus, with no margin for error one way or the other.

Love him or hate him you can't say he didn't impact the computer industry and the world (or at least, you could, and I'm sure people will).

Screw them though, this makes me sad that he's passed on.

Posted by Arcterex at 04:48 PM
Star Trek TNG BluRay Comparison

From @halkeye's twitter comes a look at the new Star Trek TNG BluRay transfer with a sweet movie and some nice comparison screengrabs.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:24 PM
What Will Replace PHP

Good link off of Hacker News on how PHP needs to die. What will replace it?

I await the Next Big Thing. I want to switch away from PHP, I really do. I don't want to be the Perl dinosaur. But whatever it is, it doesn't seem to be here yet. Am I wrong?

Interesting look at what's there in terms of MVC, Rails, Perl, etc.

Posted by Arcterex at 01:18 PM
Google Docs App Updated for Android

An enhanced Google Docs experience on Android tablets over at the Official Google Mobile Blog. Looks like a nice update for Honeycomb (3.0+) devices.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:51 PM
What can you say to Siri Assistant?

TUAW has a list of what you can say to Siri. It seems to have a fairly wide net of ways to say each certain set of commands. It'll be interesting to see what happens when people get their hands on it and start seeing what it does for crazy requests.

Posted by Arcterex at 12:40 PM
October 04, 2011
Microsoft Explains Why the Start Menu Needed to Die

Interesting: Microsoft Explains Why the Start Menu Needed to Die.

That may be an exaggeration of sorts, but a blog post by Microsoft explained that the used of the Start menu dipped by 11 percent between Windows Vista and Windows 7, with many specialized Start functions - such as exploring pictures - declining as much as 61 percent.

I can't say I disagree with this, when running Windows I tend to either use the search, or as a way to hit the control panel or a couple of pinned apps, but very rarely traverse through the all programs menu tree....

Posted by Arcterex at 04:11 PM
Apple Releases The iPhone 4S

So a few reflections on the iPhone 4S, below the fold so the haters don't have to hate.


First, lets see how I did on my predictions:

  • Apple will release a new phone - Yup
  • It'll have pretty cool stuff - Yup (faster, better camera, the new Siri Assistant)
  • Android people will hate it, and pan it as "I had that in my Galaxy 2S HDx7 3 months ago!" and that they can do that silly iCloud stuff with an rsync script running through their server and ssh'd into their phone - Yup
  • There will be new details that no one knew, possibly beyond the Assistant rumors - Not really, pretty much everything was either guessed or out there already in some form or another
  • Something that has been "for sure" in the rumor blogs will not appear - Yup, no new teardrop design or bigger screen
  • Everyone will scream and cry that Apple is losing it's way because said rumored feature didn't appear - Not yet, though the disappointment at the keynote (50 minutes of filler before the actual iPhone "talk" started) was there. I'm sure the "lost their way" articles will start this afternoon though.
  • A simultaneous release of iTunes, iPhoto, iCloud, and iOS 5 will go - mostly smoothly, and people will go "meh" regardless of the technical skill required to get all those bits working together - Nope, not till October 12-14th-end of October.. we'll see what happens then
  • The Apple stock will drop immediately after launch as it always does, because the super-awesome neural interface with 3D brain control that the rumor sites worked themselves into a lather about didn't appear - Yup, already happened - Down $13 but back up to being down $6 $2.10 at this point, I'm sure it'll level off too (as always)

The announcement was not up to the Stevenote standards unfortunately. Basically 50 minutes of filler, numbers, sales, store openings, etc (yes, the whole we'll print and mail postcards for you thing is cool, but still, this is the Lets Talk iPhone event). Lots of recapping about iOS 5 which everyone knew about from WWDC. Then after almost an hour they get to the iPhone 5 4S. Short story:

  • Same design as the iPhone 4
  • New insides, A5 chip, faster graphics, etc
  • New camera, 8mp, faster f-stop (f/2.4), better low light, 1080p recording, image stabilization, nice especially when combined with the new iOS 5 camera and image editing software
  • New "Siri Assistant" (I'm still shocked they are calling it "Siri" to be honest) which basically does what it was rumored to do, full OS integration, context aware, access to all the apps so you can say things like "remind me to call my wife when I leave work" or "schedule a meeting with Bob tonight". Only on the 4S due to the required speed/memory I'm sure.
  • Dictation in text fields a-la Android

All in all not bad, not great, and it took a long time to get there, but some nice stuff and an equivalent upgrade for the iPhone 4 as the 3GS was to the 3G.

Of course in this "apple vs android" world. Android people will hear "8mp camera" (ha we have had that forever), "voice stuff" (ha, android's had voice since it's first release!") and faster ("stupid apple just giving a speed bump, they're just ripping people off again!").

I think there's a lot of polish in there, things like f/2.4 on the camera is a huge deal and will help bolster the iPhone as a top phone on Flickr (not that great a metric to go by mind you). As people replace their point and shoots with phones, improvements like this are welcome. Ditto with the other changes, but I do admit that even as an apple fan, it'd be nice to have seen more. Not everything's going to be hit out of the park though, and if you're looking to upgrade, or have a 3G or 3GS I'd have no issue recommending the iPhone 4S to you (course, having never seen it before).

Posted by Arcterex at 12:32 PM
Turret Lullaby (Portal Comic)

My buddy Len pointed me to this Portal 2 online comic called Turret Lullaby. Pretty cool stuff, and awesome for Valve giving out all this free content for Portal, with soundtracks and comics and hell, giving away Portal 1. Kudos to them, they deserve our full support.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:43 AM
A lesson in typography.

Nice lesson in typography for those who don't know their kerning from their serifs. Like me.

Posted by Arcterex at 09:24 AM
The 'Lets Talk iPhone' Event Today

First of all, iPhone in Canada has a good list of How To Follow Apple's Event, with links for live coverage and live blogs. Or if you don't care just wait and load any page on the internet in a few hours and I'm sure it'll seep through.

My predictions are similar to the ones on 512pixels.net (one of my new favorite blogs).

  • Apple will release a new phone
  • It'll have pretty cool stuff
  • Android people will hate it, and pan it as "I had that in my Galaxy 2S HDx7 3 months ago!" and that they can do that silly iCloud stuff with an rsync script running through their server and ssh'd into their phone
  • There will be new details that no one knew, possibly beyond the Assistant rumors
  • Something that has been "for sure" in the rumor blogs will not appear
  • Everyone will scream and cry that Apple is losing it's way because said rumored feature didn't appear
  • A simultaneous release of iTunes, iPhoto, iCloud, and iOS 5 will go mostly smoothly, and people will go "meh" regardless of the technical skill required to get all those bits working together
  • The Apple stock will drop immediately after launch as it always does, because the super-awesome neural interface with 3D brain control that the rumor sites worked themselves into a lather about didn't appear

Well, maybe a bit longer than 512pixels predictions... I'll update when the madness boils over, I know no one watches this site for up to the second news :)

Posted by Arcterex at 08:07 AM
October 03, 2011
Adobe to Launch 6 Tablet Apps

Via TUAW: Adobe to launch 6 new tablet apps, including Photoshop Touch.

I wonder how this will change the tablet from a "market that no one wants" to something really interesting for the creatives....

Posted by Arcterex at 02:22 PM
Whatever Happened to the iPad Rivals of 2010?

A look at Whatever Happened to the iPad Rivals of 2010?

Spoiler: If you like happy endings, you should stop reading now.
Posted by Arcterex at 12:31 PM