Archive for January, 2010

What actually matters about the iPad (or, “you idiots.”)

January 30, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

You idiots. What actually matters isn’t the lack of Flash, or the lack of a camera, or the lack of multi-tasking, or the stupid name. What actually matters is that I can give this device to my parents and they’ll be able to use it without knowing what a goddamn filesystem is. What actually matters is that this might redefine the computing experience. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I’ll let you decide based on what some smart people have written below, but what matters is that something’s finally happened to change the face of personal computing. I can’t wait.

Alex Payne:

The thing that bothers me most about the iPad is this: if I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today. I’d never have had the ability to run whatever stupid, potentially harmful, hugely educational programs I could download or write. I wouldn’t have been able to fire up ResEdit and edit out the Mac startup sound so I could tinker on the computer at all hours without waking my parents. The iPad may be a boon to traditional eduction, insofar as it allows for multimedia textbooks and such, but in its current form, it’s a detriment to the sort of hacker culture that has propelled the digital economy.

Steven Frank:

We learned about computers from the inside out. Many of us became interested in computers because they were hackable, open, and without restrictions. We worry that these New World devices are stifling the next generation of programmers. But can anyone point to evidence that that’s really happening? I don’t know about you, but I see more people carrying handheld computers than at any point in history. If even a small percentage of them are interested in “what makes this thing tick?” then we’ve got quite a few new programmers in the pipeline.

Rory Marinich:

But however will children learn how to program? Simple: We will make them applications that teach them how to program. Every kid wants to make video games and Google, so it’s not like having a closed system will make them forget that such things are possible. When they go to learn, however, they will not learn by wasting their time doing things that will never make them happy in life. Instead, they will go to the carefully-screened App Store, and they will search for “How do I make video games”, and they will find a little button that teaches them and gives them a run-time environment in which to tinker. And because the iPad is so elegant and makes elegance so relatively easy, these apps will be elegant. We won’t get a row of advanced text editors too complex for people to understand. We will have a lot of simple, easy things that show us how joyful it is to tinker around, and that reveal their complexity and power as we learn enough to work at that level. I might even try my hand at something like that myself.

  Selling magic →  January 28

Verizon launched a Droid ad two months ago that essentially let the world know how doomed they were. The ad showed a bunch of “iDon’t”s. iDon’t have 5 megapixels. iDon’t have multitasking. Item after item of flaws in the iPhone that this new technology could solve.

Apple, meanwhile, showed a phone that could speak foreign languages at you, identify birdcalls in the wilderness, guide you through cities. They weren’t selling technical features. They were selling you magic. Real magic. The kind of magic where, thanks to world-class designers and programmers and marketers, it actually comes true.

The iPad is a 10” computer with a 16GB flash drive and multitouch technology. What makes that so worthwhile? Haven’t we seen this before? How is this better than a Windows tablet or a netbook?

Here’s why. Apple’s not actually selling a computer. Or a flash drive or multitouch. They needed to make those things for their product, but that’s not what the product is. The product is, simply put, a magical screen that can do anything you ever want it to, no matter what that is.

Here you go. It’s five hundred dollars. If you pay me that, I will give you this magical thing that can do anything. You don’t have to read a manual. It will do anything, and it will do it right now, out of the box.

Ah, the Droid. Remember when that was the big thing in tech, just three months ago?


January 28, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

With the iPad, Apple has created two platforms. First, they have produced a heavily proprietary, native platform that requires Apple approval and has significant Apple restrictions. But ironically, with their heavy focus on improving the quality of Safari and the HTML standard, they have shipped the iPad with a platform based on open, unencumbered technologies.

If you haven’t been paying attention, over the past couple of years, the web platform has gotten offline APIs, improved caching support, local storage (on Safari, that includes an on-device SQLite database accessible through JavaScript), CSS-based animations, and custom, downloadable fonts. Mobile Safari has support for gestures, Geolocation, and hardware-accelerated graphics.

Achieve­ment unlocked!

Achievements and points are the best thing ever.

No alcohol or drugs

January 23, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

Remember, kids, don’t drink and drive! Well, sled. And take drugs. I mean, don’t. Don’t drink and sled and take drugs. I mean, don’t take drugs and sled and don’t drink. At the same time. Or do any 2 of the 3 listed. Or 1. Except sled. Is sled a verb?

It’s true.

January 23, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

Garrett Murray’s awesome Nexus One review

January 16, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

Bing apparently supports Google’s China decision

January 14, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

The government should give people the right to see what they want online,” said the woman, Bing, who withheld her full name for fear that it might cause her problems at school. “The government can’t always tell lies to the people.”


Seriously, of all the anonymous names they could have used…


January 12, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

Look, a SingTel redesign! With Flash! (Yes, it was a few months ago. Humour me.)

Screen shot 2009-12-14 at AM 09.47.56.PNG

What manner of rich awesome expressive flexible internet interactivity await us underneath those mysterious boxes?!?!111 ZOMG I MUST CLICK

Screen shot 2009-12-14 at AM 09.48.11.PNG

It’s… it’s… it’s two dudes standing around looking bored. Rather, two of the same dude looking bored, except one is in a suit and is so bored he plays with his phone. Wow, the guy on the left could really win a staring competition. Seriously, they paid money for someone to stand around looking bored just for this one page? Because subsequent pages don’t follow up on shuffly dude at all.

Anyway, SingTel, I guess I understand why you saw fit to waste my bandwidth and processor cycles on two bored-looking dudes – it’s all worth it to portray the right corporate image.

YFSIUTM – “Your Flash Site Is Useless To Me” – is a series of posts where I belittle sites that look stupid or become useless when viewed with a Flash blocker. I use the venerable ClickToFlash with Safari for Mac. I’m sure there are others out there.

How to post photos on the internet

January 12, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

Take a boring photo with your 50mm f/1.8 prime wide open, with a small sliver of your subject in focus. Leave large portions of the subject outside of the focal plane, regardless of how important or interesting they are.

This nearly made me cry.