Radio-Canada’s programming has been available for viewing later on Tou.tv for a while now, but it was Flash-based, so iOS users couldn’t watch that content. Not anymore.
This normally wouldn’t be a big deal to write about, but a surprisingly high number of reviews mention how lame it is AirPlay support isn’t built into the app so they can watch it on their Apple TV. I didn’t expect that many people to have purchased an Apple TV, given how crappy the rental catalog is up here. Huh.
(Also, AirPlay support will most likely come once iOS 4.3 comes out, as that’s when third-party developers will finally be allowed to say “yes, I want my content to be available via AirPlay”. But they probably don’t know that.)
So there’s a Camera Connection Kit for the iPad, right? Did app developers assume no one bought that thing?
Here’s a free app idea. I’d make it but I’ve got enough on my plate right now:
Step 1: Select. Let me select a bunch of photos I want to upload by tapping their thumbnails. Ideally, let me pinch the thumbnails to quickly glance at a bigger version.
Step 2: Tag. Use as much of the screen as possible to show the picture in question. Give me a field for the title, a field for the description, a field for tags. Moving from one photo to the next should be done by swiping.
Step 3: Upload. Display a little animation or whatever, as long as the photos are being actually uploaded to Flickr. (Maybe also allow the user to upload a backup copy to Dropbox or something.)
That’s it. Nothing more. Give it a simple but refined UI and I’d pay up to five bucks for that.
All of the iPad photo uploaders on the App Store right now completely fucking suck. Either they’re horribly designed or they don’t work. We don’t need another filter app or another crop app or insert horribly overdone photo app here. We need an uploader that can dethrone Mail as the most efficient way of tagging and uploading photos on Flickr.
So please, steal this idea. I’m sure I’m not the only loony with a Camera Connector Kit who wants this thing.
I tried using Friends exclusively instead of using both a Twitter client (Weet, both designed by the amazing Marcelo Marfil) and the Facebook app back when it originally came out. The idea behind the app was pretty great, but there were a few issues with its execution:
It’s pretty sluggish whenever it communicates with Twitter and Facebook, which given the purpose of the app, is unacceptable.
The main menu makes it fairly clear that the contacts part and the social network client part were just smushed together at the last minute. (Seriously, what is the difference between Groups and Lists, apart from one view being a list of people, and the other being a list of their posts? And why aren’t these two different views of the same groups?)
The lack of notifications meant you had to manually keep checking each status/photo/video for replies or wait until you got to a computer.
If this blog post is to be believed, most of that is going to be fixed, which makes me unbelievably happy. Friends looked really stunning when it was first unveiled, but the execution was disappointing. Here’s hoping the update lives up to my expectations.
“It turns out that on the Internet, people use Flash. Part of being open means you’re inclusive rather than exclusive.”—Vic Gundotra at Google I/O 2010. I guess he didn’t get the memo that people use H.264 on the Web too. Whoops. So much for “openness”.
Earlier, I was working on a canvas-based shoot ‘em up for smartphone browsers (Android and iOS) with my pal Shannon.
There was something off though. My iPhone was easily drawing things three times slower than my MacBook Air was, and I had no idea why. I went through the code and did some silly optimizations here and there, but I didn’t really notice an improvement, so I decided to log the amount of time it took to run through the draw() method onscreen. The time it took to run draw() was around 23ms, which is under the interval of 33ms I had set. What was going on?
Turns out it was this: the canvas view and the page’s viewport were both 480px. After the draw method was done, everything that was drawn had to be scaled up to be 640px wide, and that was slow. Just by changing the viewport to device-width, the canvas animations started running full-speed.
So remember this when your canvas element is slow as molasses and your fps meter is inaccurate: fractional pixels are silent performance killers.
At the Apple Store opening at Place Ste-Foy back in November, I saw a bunch of people playing with the new iPod nanos and have absolutely no idea how to get back to the previous screen. (Swipe to the right, duh!)
It’s pretty frustrating to pick up a a really cool device, use it for a while, and then be completely baffled as how to go back. That’s the problem with gestures: they’re a great power user feature, but they’re ultimately hard to discover.
I’m learning Swedish. Part of the issue with learning a new language is breaking free from the phrasebook examples and being able to write your own sentences and express your own ideas. And you know what they say: practice makes perfect. This blog is essentially that practice. I want to put up a few sentences each day, get some feedback from some Swedish-speaking friends of mine, and improve over time.
“Everyone was so worried about who was going to want to see this movie. I remember them being like, ‘How do you get guys to a ballet movie? How do you get girls to a thriller?’ And the answer is a lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that.”—Natalie Portman on Black Swan.
My grandparents are going to love the Mac App Store.
My grandparents have had a Mac in their house since 1998, a little after Mac OS 8.1 came out. They do a lot on their computer: write email, video chat with family, edit photos, scan in old photos from slides and negatives, play games, visit Facebook, you name it. But one of the things they don’t do so well at is finding software.
Whenever my grandma wants an app to manage her recipes, she comes to me. Whenever my grandpa wants a new game to fiddle around with, he comes to me. The lack of a centralized software repository and consistent buying experience made them avoid buying, or even downloading freely available software on the Mac, instead delegating the task to someone else when they got desperate.
They never had an issue like that on the iPod touch or the iPad, both of which my grandparents own, and purchase a reasonable amount of software on. And now, that experience is on the Mac.
That’s not to say there aren’t disadvantages to the App Store model for developers. A lot of great OS X apps use quirks you can’t get through public APIs, and they’re not allowed to be on the App Store. Anything asking for an admin password isn’t allowed, so alternative backup software like the amazing SuperDuper can’t be sold through the App Store. There are surely other cases I’m forgetting.
But if you’re developing an app that plays by the rules and has mass-market appeal, you can’t help but be thrilled about the Mac App Store. If your app gets featured or becomes incredibly popular, your app is now two clicks away from purchase on boot. How many clicks and how many letters would a new user have had to type to come across your app before today? Definitely more than two.
I don’t go to the mall very often. My mall visits tend to be very short, rarely topping fifteen minutes in length. I’ll walk rapidly from one end of the mall to the other, dodging people as if they’re cones in an indoor slalom track, until I reach the closest store selling the item I had planned on purchasing. Rarely do I ever stop midway to glance at the displays; most stores are unappealing to me as I do not dabble much in lingerie, cutlery, or expensive sneakers.
That morning, I left the record store with my new pair of earbuds, heading back towards the same exit I always use. As the smell of coffee grew stronger and the Sears department store became closer, there she was, looking at the map of the mall.
She stood out among the rest of the people at the mall. Maybe it was because she was the only person I saw who wasn’t a middle-aged lady working the registers that morning. Maybe it was because there are relatively few people in town who aren’t Caucasian. Or maybe it was just that I felt I knew her face from somewhere.