Friday, August 31, 2007

Nailing the Leopard Dock

I've my own thoughts on the Leopard Finder/Desktop/Dock changes too, but I'll save them for when I've played around with it longer. In the meantime, Paul at Rogue Amoeba has some very entertaining observations, and this response in the comments is a killer:
I've yet to see any other comments on the Dock being used on the side of the screen. This may be because those who've tried it have been stricken instantly with vertigo and had to go lie down for a bit. I'm powering through the nausea, however, in an effort to make you sick too.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stefan Lewandowski on the UCE website redesign

I probably shouldn't pass comment on this, but I will. Well said Stef. I wasn't as big a fan as you of the prior BIAD site, but the new one is a very poor joke:
My advice - whoever is in charge of the budget for this project should be asking some serious questions of their developer. Why are they using out-dated web development techniques? Why has the site gone out without being rigorously tested on users and staff? What price design and individuality of the various departments? What message is being sent out with such a poor visual layout? If you accept this level of design now, how long will you have to wait for the _next_ redesign? How out of date will the site look _then_? What do BIAD think of the site? Surely they’ve got a few talented people who know what they’re doing with a website hanging around? Ask them to lend a hand? Or is this a student project? Speak to HR? Hire a good designer to work on the site?

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Good news from Flickr

Those who've been paying attention will know that Yahoo! dropped PayPal as a payment option for Flickr, freezing out a lot of people who'd prefer not to use an evil credit card. Well, yahoo for Yahoo! because it's back as an option from November, and the nice Flickr people are even offering to extend memberships until then for those who are affected:
PayPal will be a payment option in Yahoo! Wallet. In addition we will have ELV support for payments by our German members and local currency support for payments made my PayPal.

In the meantime, we will be more than happy to extend out pro-ness past November 20, for those members who are waiting for the return of PayPal.

I'm going to start from the beginning of this topic (as time permits) and make my way through to add pro to those people who we gifted in the past few weeks to keep them covered and we'll also gift those free account members who are stuck in this inbetween time. Again, thanks for all your patience.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Designers: Get ready for iPhone

Well we don't when exactly, but we know it's coming to Europe soon, and Craig Hockenberry has an excellent guide to readying your online content for Mobile Safari:
The iPhone developers did a really smart thing—they designed the iPhone so that you really don’t need to do anything with your site for it to display correctly. So why am I writing this article? Well, you don’t really need to bathe periodically, either. But dealing with a clean person is much more palatable than one who hasn’t touched a bar of soap for several months. So it is with the iPhone: clean up a few things and your visitors will love you for it.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Web video: We all won

The addition of H.264 to Flash is more important than it might sound. Adobe EngineerTinic Uro gives all the details, but this might convey just how big this is:
Will it be possible to place H.264 streams into the traditional FLV file structure? It will, but we strongly encourage everyone to embrace the new standard file format. There are functional limits with the FLV structure when streaming H.264 which we could not overcome without a redesign of the file format.

Say it again: .FLV is dead, and this might just be the knife in the heart for proprietary Windows Media formats too. Time will tell.

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Mind-reading machines

This talk at the Royal Society on September 27th sounds fascinating:
In this talk Rana el Kaliouby will present technologies with people sense, an emerging area of research that can improve people's ability to "connect" to others; advance social-emotional intelligence in machines to improve people's experience with technology, and build technologies and models that facilitate real-world testing of the mechanisms underlying social cognition, their developmental trajectory and their possible derailed development in pervasive developmental disorders such as autism.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Everything changes from here

If true, the mobile telecoms world just shifted on its axis:
Apple has succeeded in committing European mobile phone operators that want exclusively to sell its new iPhone to share parts of their revenues with the technology group.

The contract, which was signed by three European mobile operators in recent days, requires that the operators hand over to Apple 10 per cent of the revenues made from calls and data transfers by customers over iPhones.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Choosing a compact just got more difficult

Ok, so I've been moving inexorably towards the Ricoh Caplio GX100 with its wide zoom and RAW shooting mode, but now Canon have announced the Powershot G9 and - hurrah! - RAW is back. Now I'm confused again.
Well, Canon seems to have heard us, because the new G9 replacement does indeed have raw mode. It also has a 12.1MP sensor and an improved screen. My guess is that the camera was originally supposed to have raw mode, but that without the Digic III chip wouldn't have been fast enough. We'll also have to see whether the increased pixel count is a blessing or a curse, and what the raw shooting speed actually is like. This could well end up being the point-and-shoot of choice for the serious photographer.

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Microsoft: Thinking outside the box

Even the brilliant Joel Spolsky can't get into Office 2007:
It's a hard plastic case, sealed in two different places by plastic stickies. It represents a complete failure of industrial design; an utter F in the school of Donald Norman's Design of Everyday Things. To be technical about it, it has no true affordances and actually has some false affordances: visual clues as to how to open it that turn out to be wrong.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Useless software gets meaningless awards

Hilarious and depressing in equal measures, this intentionally non-functioning Windows program nonetheless picked up all kinds of plaudits from unscrupulous download sites:
I put out a new product a couple of weeks ago. This new product has so far won 16 different awards and recommendations from software download sites. Some of them even emailed me messages of encouragement such as “Great job, we’re really impressed!”. I should be delighted at this recognition of the quality of my software, except that the ’software’ doesn’t even run.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Killer iMac?

Tanner Godarzi reckons Apple's new iMac portends doom for the all-in-one. I wonder what he's smoking:
Apple recently updated iMac may look sleek and improved but they have killed it as far as I am concerned. I don’t have a mole within Apple or sources ready to break NDAs but the signs are all in front of our eyes.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hand+Knife+Robot+Sweat =

I don't fancy finding out the answer myself. I won't be volunteering my hand as a test subject for 5VOLTCORE's Mumblety-Peg Machine:
Essential to the set-up is the the feedback loop i.e. the circularity between computer, robot and User. It instantiates the notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy: The human is right by assuming that the Machine can fail. The Machine can fail because the human assumes.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

For the geek who has everything

It's no secret I love the Spork. I've been known to eat in SpudULike just to snaffle a supply of their green plastic sporks. This must be the ultimate though.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fighting Talk

Lance Ulanoff is pretty upbeat on Apple's rising fortunes in PC Mag:
The word of mouth for any Macintosh is remarkably good, and with the negative press that Vista is getting, the shine on Apple only gets better and better. To put it simply, Apple's Macintosh is becoming the most logical choice for those looking to buy a new computer. I know I, like Dvorak, find myself hard-pressed not to recommend a Mac desktop or laptop among the PC systems I often tout.

Will there come a time when I recommend only Macs? No. But the day when Apple owns a much, much bigger slice of the computer-market pie is now within view. Let's mark our calendars, shall we? I say that by Q1 2012, Apple will own 12 percent of the market. Anyone want to guess where it'll be by 2025?

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Something happier to end the day. This is hilarious: swissmiss: iPhone Shuffle

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Tony Wilson

I only heard this week of Tony Wilson's illness so I'm especially saddened to wake this morning to the news of his death. I never met Tony, but his cultural and musical legacy altered my young life profoundly. Peter Saville's comment is just one of the tributes on the New Order site:
"Tony was an intellectual in popular culture and he brought greatness and importance to it and it was important," he told Newsnight. "He changed it and built it up."

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Does this surprise anyone?

How Apple's small things influence their big things - (37signals):
Take a look at the back of the iPhone. It’s silver on top, black on the bottom. Then take a look at the new iMac. It’s is black on top, silver on the bottom.

When the iMac G5 launched the design reference was the widescreen iPod: With all of the effort around the iPhone it was inevitable that the new iMac would reflect the industrial design aesthetic of Apple's latest showcase handheld to some extent. What's more surprising, but smart as hell, is how the new iMac bridges the consumer/pro divide in a completely natural way via its aesthetics. Apple is saying to Mac Pro users "This is what computers are meant to be like. You know you want one." And they're right.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Cracking open the new aluminum iMac

This detail is lovely, but begs a question: How do you get inside?
With iMac, details make all the difference. For example, because it’s made from a single sheet of aluminum, you won’t see any seams or screws except for a single compartment on the bottom that provides easy access to the memory slots.

Well wonder no longer, design lovers. The lovely glass panel which sits over the screen (which BTW is a non-glossy panel under shiny glass, AFAIK) is secured by sixteen small magnets. Apple service engineers use a glazier-style suction pad to pull it away from aluminum frame. It's this kind of detail which makes Apple so special.

The one place you won't find a magnet however, is in the side of the case, where the Apple Remote used to hang. You'll need to find some other way of remembering where you put the old-fashioned glossy white plastic remote, which is begging for a shiny metal replacement now, natch.

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Moving Office

With yesterday's announcement of Apple's extended iWork application, this is even more apposite a question. Macworld: Editors' Notes: Reassessing Office's space:
So is Thursday’s announcement of a delayed Office release bad news? Not for Mac users, that I can tell. Whether it’s bad news for Microsoft is another matter altogether.

All I know is that I stopped using Powerpoint on the very same day Keynote landed on my desk, and I was in a 2-presentations-a-day position. I'll be trying Numbers as soon as I can.

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Duly blogged.

Get your people to blog my people.


UPDATE: Stef's organising this design as an actual, non-virtual, shirt right now. Follow the link and leave a comment if you want to order one.

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Monday, August 6, 2007

The future in a tube.

I always knew AA batteries were the future, but I didn't realise how quickly they'd get us there:
Reportedly, the newly revamped Oxyride managed to maintain an average speed of just over 65mph and hit a top speed of 75.8mph, all while being powered by 192 AA batteries. Unsurprisingly, the promotional stunt rocketed Panasonic into the Guinness Book of World Records for speed attained with a vehicle solely driven by dry-cell AA batteries, but we still wouldn't look at purchasing 192 batteries (each way) as an efficient method of powering your commuter car.

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My Avatar appears to be drunk too

Thanks to WG. Very funny, and true: YouTube - second life

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Apple Paperclip

I wish they'd ship one of these with the Apple remote too:
The best part of this whole thing was that after I spent 5 minutes scouring the apartment for a paperclip to open the sim card slot with, I realized Apple was way ahead of me.

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While we're waiting for the iPhone

I think this is already available in the UK:
The iPoor is the most gorgeous and simple phone ever created. Its beautiful, colourful outer casing is bound to turn heads. The huge pink antenna is not only attractive but functional, providing an astonishing 25 foot range.

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Good news for .mac users coming

As part of Tuesday's announcements it would seem. Apple .Mac Welcome:
Due to scheduled maintenance, .Mac members might be intermittently unable to access some .Mac services from 10 AM to 12 PM PDT on 08/07/2007. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Whatever it is, it can't come soon enough.

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Thai Police about to start a new fashion trend

I want to wear a Hello Kitty armband too. Let people guess what I've done wrong.
"This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offences go unnoticed," Police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan told Reuters news agency.

"Guilty officers will be made to wear the armbands in the office for a few days, with instructions not to disclose their offences. Let people guess what they have done," he said.

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Kill switch

There's a storm coming:
So the radio-controlled robots were retooled, for greater safety.   In the past, weak signals would keep the robots from getting orders for as much as eight seconds -- a significant lag during combat.  Now, the SWORDS won't act on a command, unless it's received right away.  A three-part arming process -- with both physical and electronic safeties -- is required before firing.   Most importantly, the machines now come with kill switches, in case there's any odd behavior.  "So now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy," Zecca says.

Thanks to Ray Kurzweil for the heads up.

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The Game's Up

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Damn, I am so busted, yo:
Well it had to happen. Honestly I can't believe it's taken this long. But as you may have heard, I've been busted by a newspaper reporter. My cover has been blown. Guy named Brad Stone, who works for the New York Times. Have you heard of him? Well, tip of the hat to you, Brad Stone. You did the sleuthing. You put the pieces of the puzzle together. You went through my trash, hacked into my computer, and put listening devices in my home. Now you've ruined the mystery of Fake Steve, robbing thousands of people around the world of their sense of childlike wonder. Hope you feel good about yourself, you mangina.

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Grounded, but undiminished

A wonderful, moving portrait of a man who was a hero to me as a 7-year-old in Lane DeGregory's St. Petersburg Times story. Daredevil Evel Knievel comes back to earth:
These days, he says, he doesn't need an adrenaline rush. "The most joy I get now is waking up and wrapping my arms around my wife," he says. "But sometimes she sleeps way over on the other side of the bed and it's hard to get to her. Especially with the dogs between us."