Coverage of the Canadian iPhone 4 launch on TVA last year made no sense whatsoever. They emphasized on Antennagate, saying the iPhone 4 is essentially incapable of making calls due to the placement of the antenna. They said this as they were unboxing the phone an hour or so after launch, so clearly, they hadn’t tested the iPhone with whichever carrier they got it on.1 In fact, the phone never finished booting since it needs to be plugged into iTunes to activate. Then they showed videos of the lines, making fun of people were lining up for a phone that can’t make phone calls.
Last summer, Videotron launched their cellular network in Quebec, using the same 3G bands T-Mobile uses in the United States. The network launch was the lead story for TVA’s evening news that day, despite there being significant news about corruption in our court system and in the construction industry. I don’t care so much that TVA pimps Quebecor’s properties left and right; it’s been this way for at least a decade now. However, is that really worthy of being the lead story?
When things like that happen on what is supposed to be a news program and not a giant platform for Videotron’s mobile network PR, it’s hard to take any criticism of the iPhone on their channel seriously. It’s really hard to hear “my iPhone crashed all the time, but I’ve been having no problem with my new Videotron phone” without thinking you’ve been coerced into saying that or you’re aiming for a raise. (Or maybe that was just a 3G owner who installed 4.0, in which case, sorry, but they were sorta asking for it.)
If TVA wants to feature smartphones Videotron carries prominently in its on-screen graphics like they have been for a few months now, or as props in cheesy Québecois soap operas, they can and should do so. It’s just a prop; unless your show caters to nerds, no one will care or notice what phone it is.2
However, it is clear Videotron has a problem with the iPhone. Videotron has BlackBerries, Android phones, feature phones, you name it. But the one phone they got fucked out of having by using the T-Mobile 3G bands is the iPhone, and arguably, that’s the phone that matters most to normal people3. They look even worse because every other major carrier (Rogers/Fido, Telus, Bell) has it.
So, go ahead, TVA. Go ahead and shove Videotron phones into crappy shows no one watches. But keep your mobile strategy out of your news programming.
I’ve always said that while there is undeniably lower signal strength when a user’s finger is on the antenna, this simply isn’t an issue on networks that offer coverage superior to AT&T’s abysmal network in big metro areas. ↩
Actually, they might notice it if it’s an iPhone or a BlackBerry. Both devices are pretty iconic. ↩
I spent the day in Montreal a week ago, and I saw more first-gen iPhones than Android phones being used. The first-gen iPhone, as you might remember, wasn’t even sold in Canada. I’m not claiming it is indicative of the entire country or that this was scientific in any way, but it does seem fairly indicative of urban areas between Montreal and Quebec City from what I’ve witnessed. ↩
My college has a wireless network. Many people use it on their iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. But laptop users tend to connect to wireless networks across the street if they’re in the cafeteria, mostly because the wireless network is damn near impossible to connect to.
The problem is a technology called 802.1X. It’s a standardized authentication mechanism for both wired and wireless networks. That’s about all I can say about it because it’s complicated and I don’t want to say stuff that isn’t true.
Windows users need to download a certificate file ahead of time, install it, and properly configure trusted certificate authorities before being able to log into the wireless network normally.
Mac users don’t need a certificate file, but they do need to configure an 802.1X profile in the Network preference pane, log into the network, and hope it works. Judging by the number of hours it took me to get this working when I originally got it working on my MacBook Air back in November and the time I wasted today trying to get it to work again, it very rarely works.
Those procedures are a pain in the ass, and when several people in the CS department can’t even get their laptops running on the wireless network, you know you have a problem on your hands. Possibly the biggest security gain you get by using 802.1X is that nobody can connect to your goddamned network.
But it’s not really 802.1X’s fault. It’s the operating system vendor’s fault. Here are three perfectly simple implementations that work consistently:
iOS devices: log into the network, allow the certificate to be installed (as of iPhone OS 2.0).
Android devices: log into the network normally (as of Eclair).
Linux PCs with NetworkManager: just log into the network normally.
If there is one thing I’m hoping Lion brings, it’s the iOS implementation of 802.1X authentication. It is incredibly irritating that it takes me 15 seconds to connect to the wireless network with my phone, yet I need to spend over an hour getting my laptop to connect.
Snipe is an extension for Chrome and Safari that lets you access all the tabs you have open in your browser via fuzzy-matching on a string. If you are an Alfred/Quicksilver/LaunchBar user, you will probably love this. No more control-tab, control-tab, control-tab, control-tab, control-tab.
“The first change is a pretty significant one; if you launch the app in the middle of nowhere, you’re essentially going to be locked out. This is designed to prevent you from opening the app and simply having nothing to do or see.”—Mashable on Color’s upcoming update. Good luck getting that past Apple’s approval process.
Slacktivism (sometimes slactivism or clicktivism) is a portmanteau formed out of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist.
Examples of activities labeled as “slacktivist” include signing internet petitions, the wearing of awareness ribbons or awareness bracelets with political messages, putting a ribbon magnet on a vehicle, writing blogs or statuses about issues on social networking sites, joining a Facebook group, posting issue-oriented YouTube videos, or altering one’s personal data or avatar on social network services.
Read content within Times Skimmer. Not only is the experience better than any of the Times’ paid experiences, but Skimmer seems to be unaware of the paywall altogether. (It is wonderful on the iPad too.)
Use NYTClean to make the annoying divs keeping you from seeing the content disappear.
There are surely other ways to do so, but those are my favorites.
From a Canadian Press article earlier this week: "She [NYT vice president of corporate communications] said the paper will be watching for attempts to circumvent the digital subscription system and the limits in place, like if Twitter users tweeted links to the entire paper." I lol’d. ↩
Earlier in the week, it was reported Lendle’s API access was revoked. Now it’s back, minus the book sync feature. So Amazon, enable lending on international devices and then maybe I’ll buy stuff in the Kindle Store.
Today, the Amazon Appstore launched in an attempt to correct mistakes Google made with the Android Market.
Every day, a different paid app becomes free, and it is prominently displayed on both the Web site and the app.
Product description pages on the phone are much nicer than those in the recently redesigned Market app, and infinitely better than the Web equivalent.
One-click app purchases. Once the Appstore is installed, it’s easier to install apps than through Apple’s App Store.
Amazon is shoehorning apps into a store originally made for buying physical items. As a result, the Web experience feels very goofy. You don’t know anything about an app aside from its icon (and tiny screenshots if you hover over their thumbnails) without scrolling the page to see the description. The top half of the screen is just a complete waste of space.
Top paid and top free charts are displayed side by side. While that might make sense on a tablet, a phone’s screen isn’t wide enough to accommodate both columns. It just makes the interface look cluttered.
Search results or category contents are numbered. Unless you are displaying a top N list, I don’t really care which number result I’m looking at. Regain those pixels.
Buy App/Get App buttons are too wide; you could save a precious line of text and a few pixels by putting the price directly on the purchase button like the iPhone does. I know one-click is your baby, but the one-click icon is essentially a waste of pixels too. Clutter is the underlying theme of everything except the product pages.
One-click app purchases. You really should be asking for my password, even if these are mostly going to be sub-$10 purchases. (Not necessarily for every purchase, but do a “once every 15 minutes” thing like iOS does.)
Amazon Appstore is only available in the United States, for both free and paid apps. This is worse than back in the day when Android Market’s paid apps were only available in a handful of countries.1
AT&T users are currently unable to use the Amazon Appstore because AT&T’s selection of Android phones are locked down to prevent sideloading apps2. Apparently, Amazon and AT&T are discussing how to fix this, but this doesn’t change that a large chunk of AT&T Android users can’t use this.
You know you have a problem when part of your install process requires your users to check a box that lets them install apps from unknown sources. Thanks to Amazon, the Angry Birds-playing masses have now enabled just one more way for people to get into their phones. The only way for Amazon to get around that is to make deals with phone manufacturers and get their store on phones… but then you either have two stores on the phone and confuse users, or further fragment the Android platform by simply cutting out Market altogether.
This technically also means Angry Birds Rio isn’t legally playable outside the US on Android yet, whereas I’ve been playing with the iPad version since 10:30 this morning. ↩
At least as far as the firmware they come with is concerned. If you root your phone or have the Android SDK, you can get past that restriction, but that’s a geek thing. ↩
The biggest issue with the LG Optimus 2x is how the people at LG told themselves “hey, we have this great phone with a Tegra 2 so let’s shove a ton of crap into our custom UI to show off what this awesome hardware can do”.
Of course, they’d do this conveniently forgetting that Android’s UI isn’t hardware accelerated 99% of the time, and so the phone would be sluggish as hell even though the hardware would be more than capable of handling it in a world with hardware acceleration.
Props to T-Mobile for having a line of phones that runs stock Android (G1, G2, and now G2x), and also for adding a phone to that product line without a silly hardware keyboard. (Now get Gingerbread on it.)
Lendle was essentially a peer-to-peer library of sorts for Kindle users. You could put up the list of books you owned on the site, and it would expose those books in a beautiful user interface. The number of books you could borrow in a set period was calculated from the number of books you put up for lending yourself, which means you couldn’t just leech books off other people.
International Kindle users still don’t have lending enabled, so I never got around to use it, but it looked awesome. Sad to see it disappear.
Since the title of the blog hasn’t been mentioned since I launched it and chpwn just asked me about it, I might as well clarify where the title of the blog comes from:
In MultiFinder on System 61, if you left the About MultiFinder window open for about an hour, eventually messages would start showing up in the about dialog. The messages were “I want my”, “I want my”, “I want my l—k and f—l”.
"l—k and f—l" is "look and feel". It appeared uncensored (but ROT13-encoded) in earlier builds of MultiFinder. Since I am anal when it comes to user interfaces, and therefore look and feel, I thought it was a fitting name for the blog when I started it. Judging by the posts I’ve made since then, it was the right choice.
Yeah, I was born in the System 7 days, but that didn’t stop me from reading my dad’s Mac history books (The Mac Bathroom Reader especially) and from eventually installing System 6.0.8 on my beloved SE/30. More of those old-school easter eggs are up on this page. ↩
We were staying after-hours in the computer lab after ten hours of nonstop stress. We had to hand in our big semester project we’d been working on for three months the very next day. As the day went on, we saw other teams leave their presentations devastated, sometimes nearly in tears, and we feared what was to come. Amidst the chaos of last-minute crashes, uncooperative teammates, and the caffeine-fuelled rush to “just fucking make things work”, the notion of tranquility seemed foreign and unattainable.
So it’s fitting really, that as the yelling subsided and the final pages of our documents were printing, she was the one to IM me out of nowhere. For that half hour, she brought me solace as we talked about everything other than the elephant in the room.
And as I left the building that night, watching the white snowflakes fall like feathers in the dark of night, I couldn’t help but dream that maybe someday I could be there for her like she was there for me.
“Stop, don’t say that it’s impossible
‘Cause I know it’s possible”—Eric Saade’s song Popular not only won Melodifestivalen yesterday, but accurately describes the mentality behind the scenes of the jailbreak community. (Speaking of which: iPad 2 jailbroken.)
“The song is a parody about songs that participate in the Swedish heat of the Eurovision Song Contest, Melodifestivalen, earlier often referred to as schlager. The lyrics are pointing fun at lyrics that are generally associated with Melodifestivalen songs, for example references to the “winds and stars”, and the song is also three minutes long. This is the general length of all Melodifestivalen songs. The song also includes the name of the band ABBA, explaining that most Melodifestivalen songs are copies of Abba.”—Värsta schlagern @ Wikipedia.
One of the odd things about Twitter clients is how very few of them synchronize where you last left off. Arguably, it would be hard to do this without having one universal way of doing this or using the same client on all platforms.
But one thing every client could be doing right now and isn’t: If your client refreshes the stream, and I have posted a new tweet, assume that is the point at which I will want to resume scrolling through tweets when I get back to that device.
Shifting all of those devices to a new firmware means restoring them, jailbreaking them, and then setting up the same set of packages everywhere. A lot of people get frustrated just doing it to one device, imagine three in the same night.
setting up some of the packages the way I like them
I’ve run it on both iPod touches and it works like a dream. Lots of time has been saved doing this. All you need to do is change the SSH passwords and then setup is complete.
I’m not advocating everyone runs their iOS device the same way I do, but I do think that if you are frustrated by the time it takes to set everything up, you should consider building your own set of packages that sets everything up just the way you like it.
iPhone 3GS, 3rd gen iPod touch, iPad, iPhone 4, 4th gen iPod touch, Apple TV 2, iPad 2. ↩
If you recall, 4.0 was that version that was really really slow on iPhone 3G and 2nd gen iPod touches. Yeah. Painful device to use. ↩
Expressen got to it before I did, but yeah, three sets of numbers were switched, meaning no one is certain if this week’s results are really supposed to be this week’s results. There was no acknowledgment of this during the show either meaning that as far as the inattentive audience knows, Sara Varga and The Moniker are both headed to the final in Stockholm next week.
I hope this nonsense is corrected. (I hope Sara Varga does go through to the finals though!)
099-902 XX numbers were switched between Loreen/Sara Varga and The Moniker/Linda Pritchard in the recap sequence of today’s second chance round of Melodifestivalen.
I didn’t notice if that was also the case for Jenny Silver/Love Generation, and it was not the case for Shirley’s Angels/Pernilla Andersson.
Somewhat surprised no one has seemed to notice this yet; we’re more than halfway through the show, and if the results were inaccurate the first time around, then the remainder of the second chance show is based on votes that may have gone to the wrong artist.
I plan on posting screenshot proof as soon as possible.
When Tweetie, which was long considered the best Twitter client on the iPhone, was acquired by Twitter, many people speculated that it would mark the end of the third-party client market. After all, people had trouble competing with Tweetie when it cost $2.99, so how could they compete with Tweetie when it would be free and backed by Twitter?
The sad truth, which I had seen coming from the moment Twitter acquired Tweetie, but seems to be confirmed by today’s update is this: Tweetie is dead. What was once a carefully, well-designed Twitter client is now in the hands of Twitter. If they want to make trending topics more prominent in their own app because promoted trending topics is how they make money, they will.
So as nostalgic as we are for Tweetie 1 and 2, it’s time to stop seeing it as the client it once was, and start seeing it the way we should have since last April: a client that no longer solely has the users’ interests in mind, but Twitter’s own interests as well.
If you are looking for a Twitter client to replace Twitter for iPhone, here are two of my recommendations:
Weet (iTunes, $0.99): If you’re looking for something familiar, Weet looks like Twitter for iPhone with a bit more polish here and there. It’s missing a few power user features, but for what most people do, it’s just fine. The biggest omission is landscape tweet composition, which is going to be a deal-breaker for some.
Twitterrific (iTunes, free with ads, $4.99 without): One of the original Mac and iPhone Twitter clients, which has gotten pretty refined over time. Unlike Twitter for Mac, Twitterrific mostly revolves around a single timeline that unifies followers, mentions, and direct messages.1 It’s a different way of viewing Twitter; if you use DMs a lot for conversations, this may be a turn-off. Still, it’s worth checking out.
You can browse separate timelines, but Twitterrific doesn’t have a tab bar like most clients do, so it requires going back in the navigation stack. ↩
“He also provided evidence that people continue playing Angry Birds after that initial download. 80 percent of Android users, Vesterbacka said, downloaded subsequent updates, indicating that they’ve retained interest in the game.”—Joystiq on Angry Birds reaching 30 million downloads on Android. Note that sustained interest isn’t necessarily what’s going on here; since Froyo, you can turn on automatic app updates. And if Android users are anything like iOS users, many people have tons of apps on their devices they aren’t using. (And they should do something about it.)