Linked List: November 2008

User Interface of the Week 

Some Windows utility for batch renaming files. Not a joke.

Steven Levy on Ray Ozzie and Microsoft  

This is the best description I’ve seen regarding just what Ozzie’s group at Microsoft is actually doing. Still seems like an awful lot of vapor and not much ware at this point, though.

Macworld Conference and Expo 

My thanks to Macworld Conference and Expo for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. This year’s Macworld runs from 5-9 January 2009, and as usual, will be held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco. If you’re planning to attend, now’s the time to book your travel.

The Macworld Conference and Expo web site has information on conference sessions, special presentations, and expo hall highlights and activities. To say that it’s the premier annual Apple-focused consumer event in the U.S. is an understatement.

Black Friday Amazon Deals 

Use this link to shop at Amazon for Black Friday discounts and you’ll help support Daring Fireball. Some crazy good deals on DVDs and Blu-ray discs already.

TapeDeck Thanksgiving 2008 Promotion 

Save 20 percent on TapeDeck, the fun and useful cassette-style audio recorder for the Mac, through the end of November.

Thanksgiving for 10 Blunders Apple Didn’t Commit 

Kontra:

It’s Thanksgiving again. Time to reflect and count our blessings. For those touched by Apple’s products and weltanschauung, an opportunity to give thanks to Steve Jobs & Co for not doing what was so vociferously advocated by the usual suspects: analysts, pundits, naysayers and the anti-Apple corner over the last few years.

Good rundown of the most-repeated bad advice given to Apple in recent years.

‘Swing Where the Ball Will Be’ 

Dan Cornish:

In learning about development for the BlackBerry platforms, we have to create a build for each phone and each network. As a developer, I just can’t afford it. Most of my customers right now have BlackBerries. I think that in the next year or two they will have an iPhone. I am already hearing word that a few senior executives are asking the IT departments to check it out. We should be one of the first “Real” Enterprise developers who have a native iPhone application.

Like I wrote in May, RIM is screwed.

Speaking of App Store Violations 

iTabla is a $155 (!) Indian music app for the iPhone. It’s a free download from the App Store, but times out after five minutes. To unlock it, you buy a registration code from the iTabla web site and enter the registration code they send you. How could this get approved? Maybe the App Store approval process is really just random — a coin toss or a consultation with Magic Eight Ball. (Via Cabel Sasser.)

Still Not Thankful for ZDNet 

The Macalope on ZDNet’s Robin Harris, who asks whether the new MacBooks are a flop or fiasco.

Mazo, iPhone Amazon Client, Rejected by Amazon 

That’s a first — a cool-looking iPhone app rejected by someone other than Apple. I didn’t know that you needed written permission from Amazon to use their AAWS APIs on a mobile platform. But why build the app before getting the go-ahead from Amazon, especially when Amazon’s policy regarding mobile clients is very clear?

Pogue Trashes the BlackBerry Storm 

From the headline (“BlackBerry Storm Downgraded to a Depression”) straight through to the end, this is about as vicious a thrashing as I’ve ever seen from David Pogue. (Curious that his review didn’t hit until today — the embargo release for most of the major gadget press was last Friday.) E.g.:

In short, trying to navigate this thing isn’t just an exercise in frustration — it’s a marathon of frustration.

Now, I wouldn’t come down this hard on some product — especially one that was so eagerly anticipated, customers lined up at dawn on the day of its release — without getting a second, third and fourth opinion. And I’m telling you, there wasn’t a soul who tried this machine who wasn’t appalled, baffled or both.

And that’s before they discovered that the Storm doesn’t have Wi-Fi.

Deliciously scathing.

Google Admits to Using Undocumented iPhone APIs in Google Mobile 

We knew this already, but it’s a little weird to see a Google spokesperson flatly admit it (rather than no-commenting) to CNet. On the other hand, they deny Erica Sadun’s charge that Google Mobile links to private frameworks (rather than the lesser infraction of using undocumented methods in public frameworks, which is what I wrote about).

I’m quite certain there are many apps in the App Store that are using undocumented APIs. Google Mobile is not alone in this regard. But I wonder if Apple would look the other way if it were Joe Developer, rather than Google, telling CNet that his app uses undocumented APIs for its flagship feature.

Microsoft’s Live Mesh Now Available for Mac OS X 

I’ll be damned if I’ll be the guinea pig for it, but I’m curious to hear how well it works on the Mac. Just judging by the menu, it already looks confusing compared to Dropbox. (Why is “New Folder” a command?)

The Phillie Phanatic’s Hot Dog Launcher 

A great Philadelphia tradition.

Bizarre Patent Suit Filed Against Apple Regarding iPhone’s Safari 

Ian Paul, reporting for PC World:

That patent is for an invention that displays “on-line content reformatted from a webpage in a hypertext markup language (HTML) format into an extensible markup language (XML) format to generate a sister site.” This sister site is a simplified version of the original site that is then displayed on any number of devices—including cell phones, EMG says.

Now, it seems to me that this is a description of what every single mobile phone on the market does. Every mobile phone EXCEPT the iPhone, that is.

The Going Rate for Contract iPhone Developers 

Raven Zachary:

The going rate for iPhone developers, at least the developers I know and trust, is $125/hour and up. I have some friends who are booked out at $200/hour for the next few months, although $125/hour seems to be the going rate in my network. At that rate, a full-time contract iPhone developer costs $5,000/week and it may take four to six weeks for an application to be developed.

New Web Site for The Criterion Collection 

Lovely new web site. They’re introducing a new service where you can rent films online for $5, and, if you subsequently choose to buy that film on DVD or Blu-ray, you can put the $5 you spent to rent it toward the price of the disc. (Via Ryan Singer.)

QuickTime 7.5.7 Allows SD iTunes Playback Over DisplayPort 

Seems to me that DRM-laden HD movies in general — not just Blu-ray in particular — are a “bag of hurt”.

Pomegranate NS08 

This might be the first mobile phone genuinely worth calling an “iPhone killer”. No word regarding an SDK, though.

Also, it’s unclear to me how you keep beard trimmings from getting into the coffee you brew with it.

Dumbing Down the Cloud 

Rands in Repose:

Dropbox is not dumb. In fact, Dropbox is quite smart because it lets me be dumb.

Better Dead Than Red, I Say 

Speaking of BlackBerry Storm reviews, this is a strange passage from Rosemary Hattersley and Mark Hattersley’s BlackBerry Storm review for Macworld:

And while we’re on the subject of welcome features that users are clamoring for, let’s not overlook (cue fanfare) cut-and-paste. BlackBerry has shown Apple how it’s done, by using the same multi-touch technology used in the iPhone 3G. Here’s how it works: you put one finger at the start of what you want to copy, and one finger at the end to highlight text; then press the Menu button to select ‘cut’ or ‘copy’. Now, this is a feature that we haven’t really felt the need for but the Macworld readership has being quite vocal about the lack of cut-and-paste on the iPhone. RIM’s solution doesn’t work well enough for us because it is fiddly beyond belief (“using this would drive you mad,” said one of our testers). But in the absence of anything better from Apple this is an area where RIM scores a point, just.

How exactly is a crap UI that “will drive you mad” showing Apple how it’s done? Would the iPhone be better with more — but poorly-designed — features? I’m sure some people agree, but it seems an odd sentiment for Mac users.

Harry McCracken’s Roundup of BlackBerry Storm Reviews 

Consensus seems a bit negative, especially with regard to the Storm’s “sometime you just tap it, but sometimes you have to press harder and make it actually click” touch screen.

A Few Additional Remarks Regarding the New iPhone Safari Toolbar 

While I’m linking to myself: I added a few additional comments to the end of my piece yesterday regarding the new iPhone Safari toolbar.

The Faster CPU in the New iPod Touch 

After I linked to a report suggesting that the new second-generation iPod Touch has a faster CPU than the iPhone or previous Touch, Craig Hockenberry suggested on Twitter that new-Touch-owning developers could run his hardware info code, based on the Unix sysctl() call, to see what it reports. A few DF readers did just that, and indeed, it reports a faster CPU and bus.

The iPhone, iPhone 3G, and original iPod Touch all report a 400 MHz CPU and 100 MHz bus. The new iPod Touch reports a 532 MHz CPU and 133 MHz bus. Physical memory remains the same across all hardware, at about 117 MB (which Hockenberry interprets, I think correctly, as meaning 128 MB of RAM with 11 MB being used for video).

Script Debugger 4.5 

Nice update to Late Night Software’s amazing AppleScript editor and debugger. I don’t know that I’d ever bother writing AppleScripts without it.

Asa Dotzler on Mozilla’s Relationship With Google 

Asa Dotzler, responding to Joe Wilcox’s piece arguing that Chrome spells trouble for Mozilla:

Mozilla isn’t dependent on Google search revenue. Mozilla is, (and it’s a bit concerning, but not terribly so,) dependent on the search advertising marketplace that most of the web is dependent upon.

Any search provider would, (and others besides Google do) pay for traffic that Firefox generates for them. Google is the lion’s share of Mozilla’s revenue not because they pay more to Mozilla for searches than the other providers, but because there are a whole lot more searches to pay for.

That’s because Google is the default. If, for example, Yahoo was the default, it would be the lion’s share of Mozilla’s revenue.

It’s undoubtedly true that Yahoo might be willing to pay top dollar today to replace Google as the default Firefox search engine. But will Yahoo be in a position to do this, say, five years from now? Who else other than Yahoo would pay as much as Google? Microsoft could, but would they?

Dan Lyons Stops Blogging After Calling Yahoo PR Reps ‘Lying Sacks of Shit’ 

More details here. Not quite sure what Newsweek thought they were getting — it’s not like what he wrote wasn’t true.

Ned Batchelder: ‘My Oldest Code Still Running’ 

There’s a good rule of thumb here:

When waiting for your print job, any pages you don’t want will seem too slow.

Inside Safari 3.2’s Anti-Phishing Features 

Macworld is carrying MacJournals’s excellent analysis of the security and privacy implications of Safari 3.2’s new anti-phishing features. You won’t find more details on how it works and what it’s doing anywhere else. (Well, other than MDJ or MWJ.)

It Died 

New site from Glenn Fleishman, tracking web sites, services, and companies that are no longer available. I have a feeling it’s going to be a busy year.

Twitter Hires Rael Dornfest; Stikkit and I Want Sandy to Close December 8 

Dornfest has had a hand in a bunch of simple, focused web apps over the years. I thought Blosxom, his minimalist weblog engine, was a gem. I’m sure glad I never got into using I Want Sandy or Stikkit, though.

Gizmodo Reviews Opera Mini 4.2 Beta for Android 

Doesn’t sound fully baked. And using the Android hardware Back button this way sounds like it’s completely against the Android interface guidelines. Something like this wouldn’t fly on the iPhone. (Opera Mini is the cross-platform mobile-optimized version of Opera that I wrote about a few weeks ago.)

Tack Sharp 

New photography podcast by Duncan Davidson and Dan Benjamin. Don’t let the “.tv” domain name fool you, it’s an audio show.

Contacts App No Longer Cheats With Dynamic ‘default.png’ 

Tom Insam notes that the iPhone Contacts app no longer uses the dynamic default.png cheat — it simply launches and starts much faster than it used to.

Testing the ‘Broken Windows’ Theory of Crime 

Interesting experiment testing the theory that signs of visual disorder, such as litter and graffiti, encourage crime and other acts of disorder. (Via Gus Mueller.)

Benchmarking After Effects CS4 on Mac OS X and Windows Vista 

Kevin Schmitt benchmarks Adobe’s After Effects CS4 on Leopard and Vista. The results are ugly:

Cripes, the Mac OS X version of After Effects is absolutely smoked again, and the results are slightly worse than last time in places. Either Adobe isn’t tuning After Effects on the Mac at all, or tuning the buhjeezus out of the Windows versions. Hell, even single process rendering on Vista generally spanks multiple processes on Leopard, for the love of Pete.

2nd Generation iPod Touch Faster Than iPhone? 

According to Touch Arcade, the second-generation iPod Touch has a faster CPU than the iPhone 3G, original iPhone, and original iPod Touch. Update: Any developers out there who own a new iPod Touch could test this by running Craig Hockenberry’s hardware info code.

Pointer Fun With Binky 

A programming video that entertained my four-year-old son as much as it did me. (Via Jeff Atwood.)

Making ‘Iron Man’ 

Terrific set of behind-the-scenes photos by Jeff Bridges during the making of Iron Man.

HandBrake 0.9.3 

Not sure why the version number tweak is so minor; this seems like a major update:

HandBrake is no longer limited to DVDs: it will now accept practically any type of video as a source. This massive enhancement was achieved by tapping into the power of libavcodec and libavformat from the FFmpeg project.

I agree with Michael Tsai: Handbrake is the easiest way I know to convert video (especially from DVDs) for use on iPhones, iPods, and non-hacked Apple TVs. (Via Mat Lu.)

Kara Swisher: Twitter Rejects Acquisition Offer From Facebook 

She reports that Facebook offered to acquire Twitter for $500 million in Facebook stock, but the Twitter board (wisely) wanted cash. I’m not sure I’d sell a sandwich in exchange for Facebook stock.

iPhone Developer Paying for Five-Star App Store Reviews Via Mechanical Turk 

Brian X. Chen:

The developer of Santa Live, a jokey iPhone app for kids, appears to have posted a listing on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk offering to pay $4 for the highest-rated reviews on Apple’s iPhone App Store. “So for this hit, all you have to do is download the application ($1.99) and then leave a 5 star review for the app in iTunes or the App Store,” said the posting, which has now been taken down, but is preserved here by a screenshot taken by “Techtistic”, a reader of The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

The developer’s name is Adam Majewski. I saw a similar request that Majewski posted to Mechanical Turk on November 14, where he was offering only $2 (just one penny more than the cost of the app) and only asked for the app to be downloaded and reviewed, without specifying that the review be positive.

TaskPaper 2.0 

Major update to Hog Bay Software’s $30 list-based task manager. I’m not sure what to make of it. I like that it’s quite a bit simpler than OmniOutliner (and miles simpler than OmniFocus), and I like that it’s less structured than Things.

But it feels like an outliner without outlining features. I don’t think a task manager needs to be hierarchical, but if it is hierarchical (that is, if tasks can have sub-tasks, and sub-tasks can have sub-sub-tasks, etc.) then I expect to be able to fold and unfold sections of the hierarchy with disclosure triangles. TaskPaper doesn’t do that, other than allowing you to hoist (in outlining terms) a top-level project.

Definitely worth a look, especially if you’re not entirely satisfied with whatever you’re using now for task management.

Vista Doing Just Fine; It’s Leopard and iPhone OS That Are In Need of Fixing; We Have Always Been at War With Eurasia 

What a sad strange little place the Microsoft tech punditry beat has turned into.

‘The Wrestler’ 

Darren Aronofsky’s new film starring Mickey Rourke looks terrific. Hard to imagine anyone better suited to this role than Rourke.

Behind the Scenes With Microsoft and Rob Enderle 

It’s always entertaining when the world gets a look at Microsoft email messages released as evidence in a court case. Todd Bishop explores some 2005 emails between Rob Enderle and Microsoft executives, including Steve Ballmer, wherein Enderle suggests that the confusing array of different Vista versions was a bad idea. For once, Enderle was right.

The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway 

A thoroughly researched epic typographic saga, by Paul Shaw.

What’s New in iPhone OS 2.2 

Comprehensive coverage from Jesse David Hollington for iLounge, describing and showing what’s new in today’s iPhone OS 2.2 update.

Photo-Resizing Bug in iPhone OS 2.2 

When you save a picture to your photo roll from email or the web, if the picture is larger than the iPhone display (480 × 320 pixels), the iPhone displays a scaled-up thumbnail rather than a scaled-down version of the large image. Here’s another description of the problem, with more examples, from Scott Johnson.

The End 

Fabulous collection of “The End” movie title cards. Needless to say, this one is my favorite.

The Official Netflix Blog: Encoding for Streaming 

Technical information regarding the formats Netflix uses for video streaming.

Rich Mogull on Safari 3.2’s Anti-Phishing Features 

Safari now supports EV SSL certificates, and is using a blacklist of known phishing domains supplied by Google.

The ‘O’ in Obama 

Steven Heller interviews Sol Sender, the designer of the Obama campaign’s “O” logo.

Mozilla’s Dependence on Google 

John Paczkowski on the Mozilla Foundation’s finances:

[…] its revenue for 2007 totaled $75.1 million, up 13 percent from 2006’s $66.8 million. And 88 percent of that came directly from Google, which pays Mozilla to be the default search engine in it Firefox browser.

So Mozilla is utterly dependent on Google for its revenue, but competing directly against them with Firefox vs. Chrome. That’s a weird relationship.

Billings 3 

My thanks to Marketcircle for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Billings 3. Billings is a time-tracking and invoicing app with a simple, clear, and very stylish interface. It also produces gorgeous invoices. I would have killed for this app back in my freelancing days.

Billings 3 normally sells for $59, but is currently on sale for $40. (Upgrades are on sale too.)

About the Security Content of iPhone OS 2.2  

iPhoneHellas.gr was right — iPhone OS 2.2 was released today. Here are Apple’s security-related release notes.

Ffffound’s Clever Keyboard-Based Navigation 

Ryan Singer on Ffffound’s excellent keyboard shortcuts. Design isn’t just how things look — it’s about the experience of using them. (The Boston Globe’s Big Picture uses similar shortcuts.)

The iPod Touch Doesn’t Have a Proximity Sensor 

DF reader Mark Handel, via email:

I can’t remember — does the iPod Touch have a proximity sensor? If it does not, that’s probably the reason that the proximity sensor is undocumented: Apple is trying to keep a very common “reference” hardware platform in the API. I think it was you who mentioned the problem with Android being that there was not a common hardware model: some have only touch screens, some have keyboards, etc.

The iPod Touch does not have a proximity sensor. The primary — and perhaps only — reason the iPhone does is so the screen can turn off and stop accepting touch input when you’re holding it to your ear for a call. I’m not sure this explains why the more useful proximity sensor APIs are undocumented, but it’s an interesting theory. And, clearly, some of the iPhone-only hardware features — the camera and microphone come to mind — are very much documented in the public APIs.

Apple: ‘iPhone Your Life’ 

New section on Apple’s iPhone web site promoting third-party apps. Interesting for at least two reasons: (1) I’ve already found a couple of interesting apps I’d never heard of before, and (2) it shows you which iPhone apps Apple considers worth showing off.

The Faces of Mechanical Turk 

Andy Baio:

Last week, I started a new Turk experiment to answer two questions: what do these people look like, and how much does it cost for someone to reveal their face?

Mobispine MMS App for iPhone 

This is the app that the Swedish carrier Telia will be providing to Swedish iPhone users.

On the Death and 441-Year Life of the Pixel 

Jonathan Hoefler has an example of pixel-based typography from 1567.

Apple TV Software Update 2.3 

With actual, albeit sparse, release notes:

Third-party Remote Controls — Apple TV can now learn other remote controls and use them in addition to the Apple Remote.

I can’t find any developer documentation for this yet. Update: Ah, I see, it’s a feature that allows the Apple TV to pair with existing universal remotes.

Tweetie 1.0 

Tweetie, a brand-new $3 iPhone Twitter client by Loren Brichter, is now available from the App Store. I’ve been using beta versions for a few weeks, and it is currently my favorite iPhone Twitter client by far. Tweetie shares a few conceptual similarities with Tweetsville, another very good new iPhone Twitter client — both take a very different approach than the king of the hill, Twitterrific.

The biggest difference is that both Tweetie and Tweetsville support loading additional tweets from further back in your timeline when you get to the end of the list. This makes it possible to “catch up” with older tweets in a way that just isn’t possible with Twitterrific. Tweetie also makes it possible to view individual users’ timelines within the app, using a left-to-right “drilling down” metaphor that allows you to go back to where you were. Tweetie wins out over Tweetsville by being faster, more stable (Tweetsville seems to more frequently run into low-memory situations when showing inline web views), and offering a more carefully thought out interface. The only thing I dislike about Tweetie is the SMS/iChat-style tweet list.

Note2Self (iTunes Store) 

Note2Self is a $3 audio recording app for the iPhone, and, I believe, the first iPhone app with a “just lift it to your ear to record” feature. (It shipped with the feature in July.) However, unlike Google Mobile, Note2Self doesn’t use the proximity sensor, only the accelerometer.

I bought it last night to try it out. It works better than I’d have thought, but it’s far more finicky than Google Mobile’s implementation. With Note2Self you can trigger the “lift to record” feature just by moving the iPhone and holding it at the right angle — without putting it near your head. And sometimes when you do move it to your ear it doesn’t trigger. I think it’s about as good as it could be by sticking to the published APIs, but now that the proximity sensor cat is out of the bag, I expect to see an update that uses it soon.

Erica Sadun on Using Undocumented iPhone APIs 

She makes an interesting distinction between the venial sin of using undocumented methods in a public framework (which is what Google has done with the proximity sensor), and the mortal sin of linking to a completely private framework. Sadun — who’s the author of The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook — even shows source code for an example app that catches proximity sensor events.

Based on some of the email I’ve gotten this morning, I think the occasional use of undocumented methods in public iPhone frameworks is actually pretty common in third-party iPhone apps. But that doesn’t make it safe, and I think Sadun is stretching the innocuousness of this practice when she writes:

Using unpublished APIs means that your applications can break at any firmware upgrade; Apple does not guarantee that routines will not change the way they stand behind the published APIs. However, developers use these routines for all sorts of good reasons both for items in App Store as well as out. And, often, the routines don’t break and have been stable for a long long time.

Undocumented routines are undocumented for some reason.

Frenzic for iPhone 

I’ve played a bunch of iPhone games that, while fun on the computer, just don’t translate well to the iPhone. Games that are best suited to control using a keyboard, joystick, or mouse often just aren’t fun when using the accelerometer or touch screen for input.

Frenzic, a joint production of The Iconfactory and ARTIS Software, is the other way around. When Frenzic came out for the Mac in February 2007, I thought it was a neat concept, but it required far too much precise mousing for me to find it fun. It’s so perfectly suited to touch screen controls that it’s hard to believe it wasn’t designed for the iPhone all along. $5 at the App Store.

A Two-Year-Old Smoking 

Some of these photographs in Google’s new Life archive make me insatiably curious about the articles that accompanied them in the magazine. Like, say, this series from 1959 featuring a two-year-old cigarette smoker.

Chuck Klosterman Reviews ‘Chinese Democracy’ 

Chuck Klosterman:

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It’s more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I’ve been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I’ve thought about this record more than I’ve thought about China, and maybe as much as I’ve thought about the principles of democracy.

The Penguin Blog: Designing Classics 

Exquisite book cover designs by Coralie Bickford-Smith for Penguin’s new range of hardback classics. See more images in Penguin’s Flickr account. (And how cool is it that Penguin has a Flickr account?) (Via The Book Design Review.)

NumberKey 

$2 app turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a numeric keypad for your MacBook. I have no need for this personally, but I can’t help but link to it given that one of the themes matches the Apple IIgs ADB keyboard.

Jason Fried: ‘Why the Drudge Report Is One of the Best Designed Sites on the Web’ 

Jason Fried:

To clarify, my definition of design goes beyond aesthetic qualities and into areas of maintenance, cost, profitability, speed, and purpose. However, I still think that the Drudge Report is an aesthetic masterpiece even though I also consider it ugly. Can good design also be ugly? I think Drudge proves it can.

I agree completely.

PC Magazine Ceases Print 

I have a feeling that print publications turning into online-only publications is going to be a recurring theme during this recession.

‘The Definition of a Slow News Day’ 

Mena Trott skewers Valleywag’s Owen Thomas. The perfect response to a jackass post.

Jesper: ‘Translation From P… Uh, Swedish to English of Selected Portions of Swedish MacWorld’s Report About iPhone MMS Availability in Telia’s Swedish Network’ 

Definitely suggests that it’s Telia that will be providing the app, but no word as to how they plan to distribute it. The only way would be through the App Store, and the App Store requires Apple’s blessing. Are there any carrier-specific apps in the store now? I’m not aware of any from AT&T here in the U.S., at least.

VoodooPad 4.0 

New from Flying Meat: VoodooPad 4.0. Lots of new stuff, but the big new feature is syncing via WebDAV (including to MobileMe).

Swedish MacWorld Reports MMS Coming Soon to iPhone 

Google translation of Mikael Markander’s report in the Swedish MacWorld:

One of the most common complaints of iPhone is that you have to hack it to send and receive multimedia messages. But soon, those who dislike Apple’s mobile need to look for new arguments. For in an interview with MacWorld confirms a spokesman for Telia that it will shortly launch an application for MMS.

Not sure if this means Telia is writing their own MMS iPhone app, or if they’re suggesting that Apple is adding MMS support to the system software. I haven’t seen any reports of MMS support in the iPhone OS 2.2 betas. Update: Several Swedish DF readers have confirmed that the original article makes clear that it is Telia that plans to offer this app, not Apple.

And, yes, the Swedish publication spells “MacWorld” with a capital “W”. The U.S. version does not. (Via Waffle.)

Life Magazine Photo Archive Hosted by Google 

Google:

Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

This is Google at its best. Beware — you could lose the rest of your day searching this archive for gems like this and this and this. And most certainly this. (Via Andy Baio.)

Update: More gold here, here, and here. Just wonderful.

Deconstructing Google Mobile’s Voice Search 

Andy Baio is trying to reverse-engineer how the Google Mobile app’s voice search works. (That the audio files being sent from the iPhone to Google’s servers are only 100-300 bytes helps explain why it’s so much faster than I expected it to be.)

Voice Search in Google Mobile App for iPhone 

The update to the Google Mobile iPhone app with voice-driven search is now available, and while I think it’s more gimmicky than useful overall, it’s certainly interesting. If you don’t have an iPhone, at least watch the demo video — my favorite part of the app are the sound effects it makes when it’s ready for you to dictate a voice query and finished processing your query. These sounds are just perfect.

Accuracy seems inconsistent. When I asked for local restaurant names here in Philly, it did well. When I asked for “You Look Nice Today”, Google nailed it. But when I said “Beat up Martin”, well, the result was Newton-esque.

Jerry Yang Steps Down as Yahoo CEO 

Seemed inevitable given Yahoo’s recent stock-price plunge.

Versions 1.0 

€39 Subversion client from Pico and Sofa, featuring a slick UI that is intended to make version control usable for developers and non-developers alike. Has been in public beta since June.

‘Adventure’ for iPhone 

The classic Atari 2600 game “Adventure”, as a free iPhone game by Peter Hirschberg. (Via Andy Baio.)

New ‘Star Trek’ Trailer 

Trailer of the day: J.J. Abrams’s upcoming Star Trek prequel.

Choosy 

A clever idea from George Brocklehurst — Choosy is a sort of meta web browser for Mac OS X, for people who use multiple web browsers. You set your “default” web browser to Choosy, and then when you open web URLs in other applications, Choosy will either prompt you for which browser you want to open the link in, or it will choose for you automatically based on rules you define.

Base 1.0 

New £10.00 (about $15 USD) desktop SQLite tool from Menial:

Base is an application for creating, designing, editing and browsing SQLite 3 database files. It’s a proper Mac OS X application. Fast to launch, quick to get in to and get the data you need.

Not a Rumor 

Anthony Ha, on Adobe’s efforts to get Flash running effectively on ARM processors:

The mobile market is an important target for Adobe — on web-enabled desktops, on the other hand, some versions of Flash already have 98 percent market penetration. Flash’s dominance is less-assured on mobile devices, where web-browsing capabilities are only now emerging as a mass market, where Flash has been criticized for the demands it places on device resources and where Apple is rumored to encourage development on Javascript, rather than Flash or Microsoft’s Silverlight platform.

That’s not a rumor. That’s a fact. WWDC had a slew of sessions last year about developing with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and they’ve emphasized these technologies as the way to develop for the iPhone as a mobile web platform since before the iPhone even debuted.

PCalc 1.2 for iPhone 

The best iPhone calculator app keeps getting better.

Open Radar 

Wolf Rentzsch on the nascent Open Radar — a mirror of third-party developer bug reports sent to Radar, Apple’s internal (and non-public) bug database. Worth keeping an eye on.

My Journey to Tweetsville 

Ed Voas on the story behind Tweetsville, the clever new $4 Twitter client he wrote (but which he sold to Tapulous, because he’s going back to work for Apple):

For the next few weeks I worked pretty much 24/7 getting things to cache properly, push things off onto threads as much as possible, use a real database, etc. and make sure that things just worked correctly. Despite the simplicity of what Twitter is, making an application to really behave properly and ensure that things are always as you expect is pretty darn hard. Even something as ’simple’ as clicking a tweet and then iterating your tweets with the up and down arrows in the upper right was interesting. Not because of the iteration of the items, but because you now have yet another view that needs to be aware of state changes in the application. For example, if you favorite something, I needed to make sure that if it was showing elsewhere in the UI the change was reflected. Good times.

How to Price Your iPhone App Out of Existence 

Thoughtful analysis from Andy Finnell on App Store pricing.

I agree with him completely that prices under $5 just aren’t feasible for developers who wish to make a full-time living selling iPhone software. The problem with prices at $10 and above, however, is that the App Store doesn’t make demo versions or trial periods possible, nor is there an official refund policy.

‘Outliers’ 

Amazon pre-order link for Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers — looks like it’s set to ship in three days.

Sitzfleisch 

Tying together yesterday’s link to Brent Simmons’s advice for would-be indie developers (“You need to wear out that chair and then buy a new one and then wear out that one”) and the previous link to Malcolm Gladwell’s conclusion that it is perseverance and above all else extraordinary amounts of practice that separates the great from the not-great, is the wonderful German word sitzfleisch:

The ability to endure or carry on with an activity.

(Thanks to DF reader Mark Eli Kalderon.)

10,000 Hours 

Fascinating excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell’s soon-to-be-released Outliers: The Story of Success:

This idea — that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice — surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.

(Thanks to Tom Davis.)

Favorite No More 

Here’s a YouTube clip from Steve Jobs’s 2007 Macworld Expo keynote, where he announced the iPhone. It’s the segment where Jobs demos the iPhone’s phone features. He calls Jonny Ive (who’s sitting in the audience), then Phil Schiller calls Jobs, and Jobs merges the two calls into a conference call.

Then, starting around the 5:15 mark, Jobs shows off the Favorites list. He starts by adding Phil Schiller to his favorites list. Then he shows how to delete an entry. Guess who?

Brent Simmons’s Advice for Would-Be Indie Developers 

Brent Simmons:

But you have to actually build it. You have to work every day. You have to sit in the chair and stay seated. And sleep and come back to the chair. You need to wear out that chair and then buy a new one and then wear out that one.

John C. Welch on Apple’s Enterprise Strategy 

John C. Welch:

Here’s the simple truth: Enterprise hates surprises. It’s not what they want. Enterprise wants predictability. They want to know when, what, how much, and that it will be all new and cool, yet change nothing. (Yes that’s contradictory. Have you ever tried to use “Enterprise Software?” Winning usability awards is so not happening there.) And they want to know everything in detail a year ahead of time. Can anyone seriously imagine how long Apple would survive under that model? Right, not long.

Failing Hard Drive Sounds 

Some of the most terrifying noises known to man.

BBEdit 9 

My thanks to Bare Bones Software for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Bare Bones describes BBEdit 9 as “the leading professional HTML and text editor for Mac OS X”. I describe it as “the app in which I do all my work”.

BBEdit is highly scriptable, both with AppleScript and with shell scripting languages like Perl, Python, and Ruby. It has the best search-and-replace features in the business. New in 9.0 are features like text and clipping completion, a new Projects feature that lets you group associated files — including those on SFTP servers — together in one window, and the ability to edit files directly from within disk browser and search results windows. If it were legal in Pennsylvania I’d marry BBEdit.

John Markoff, reporting for The New York Times:

Users of the free application, which Apple is expected to make available as soon as Friday through its iTunes store, can place the phone to their ear and ask virtually any question, like “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” or “How tall is Mount Everest?” The sound is converted to a digital file and sent to Google’s servers, which try to determine the words spoken and pass them along to the Google search engine.

The search results, which may be displayed in just seconds on a fast wireless network, will at times include local information, taking advantage of iPhone features that let it determine its location.

Is it really going to be more convenient than just typing out “how tall is mount everest” in the Safari search field? I’m highly skeptical.

And why did Google do this for the iPhone before doing it for Android?

Red Digital Cinema’s New Camera Announcements 

I’d like to see Red do more shipping and less pre-announcing. Still, though, these sensor sizes are astounding — the biggest will shoot still images at 261 megapixels.

High Quality YouTube Video Hack 

Jason Kottke shows how to embed higher-quality versions of YouTube videos.

Safari 3.2 

Bug-fix and security update for Mac OS X and Windows.

Apple Publications Style Guide 2008 (PDF) 

Apple’s in-house style and usage guide, first update since January 2006. Excellent resource for technical writers of any sort, filled with useful nuggets like this. (Via today’s issue of MDJ.)

Updated 5 April 2010: Changed the link to point to the 2009 edition. The 2008 URL went 404.

AppleInsider Obtains Legal Documents From Apple/IBM Papermaster Case 

Including a complete copy of Mark Papermaster’s declaration (PDF).

Update: Seems weird that they watermarked “APPLEINSIDER” repeatedly over every page in the PDFs; they’re readily available on the web. Go to justia.com, search for “Papermaster”, and there you go.

Pierre Igot on the Adobe CS4 Installation Experience 

Is there a worse installation experience for any mainstream Mac software?

iPhone Backup Slurper 

I neglected to link to this a few weeks ago when he released it, but Jason Harris has written an open source app that, much like this week’s aforelinked iPhone Backup Extractor, reads the data from the backups iTunes stores when you sync your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Among other benefits, iPhone Backup Slurper automatically dumps the contents of SQLite database files in the backup data.

Ed Boyd, Dell’s New Industrial Design Director 

Reena Jana, writing for BusinessWeek:

The man behind this effort is Ed Boyd, one of Dell’s most unusual hires in recent years. Boyd is an industrial designer who used to dream up new sunglasses and shoes for Nike. Now the 43-year-old is trying to make design an integral part of Dell, the personal computer maker long known for cranking out boring gray boxes. “I was skeptical it could be cool,” says Boyd, who joined the company last year. “I took the job when I heard the design lab would function like a startup for consumer [products].” […]

Next year, Dell will let buyers customize laptops in a dizzying number of ways, mixing scores of colors, patterns, and textures. The options will go far beyond the handful of choices available from most of its rivals. In essence, Boyd is taking the Nike approach of letting people design their own sneakers, and trying to apply it to the world of computers.

I think this is a very smart move for Dell. A very different philosophy than Apple’s, for sure, but that’s a good thing — Apple’s philosophy would never work for Dell.

Duncan Davidson’s Nikon D700 Field Report 

Long-time Canon user Duncan Davidson on using his new Nikon D700 kit to shoot the Web 2.0 Summit.

Flat-Screen Makers Plead Guilty to Price-Fixing 

U.S. Justice Department gets guilty pleas on price-fixing charges from LG, Sharp, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes.

The ‘Which OS?’ Question 

I’ve updated the first footnote in yesterday’s piece regarding Tony Fadell and his role, or lack thereof, in the development of the iPhone, with a one-word answer to the question as to which OS Fadell pushed for Apple to base the phone on rather than OS X.

Formatting the Drobo for Time Machine Backups 

Erik Barzeski on how to use a Drobo for Time Machine backups. Very useful information.

Update: Nat Irons, in this comment on Barzeski’s post, points to this stern warning from Data Robotics against using Mac OS X 10.5’s live partition resizing feature on a Drobo. Read the whole comment thread for more advice.

Update 2: Barzeski has updated the article with additional information.

Jason Snell Reviews Things for iPhone 

Jason Snell:

If Things sounds simple, that’s because it is. Other to-do list managers I’ve tried have, quite honestly, gotten in the way of me getting things done. Things doesn’t do that. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tom Evslin on Saving the U.S. Auto Industry 

A clever idea to aid the U.S. auto industry without just giving taxpayer money away:

The US government should order a complete replacement for its vehicle fleet to be delivered over the next four years. The new vehicles must be either plugin electric hybrid, pure electric, or possibly natural gas. Obviously retooling both at the manufacturers and suppliers is required to deliver this order so the government should be willing to prepay a significant part of it as it does for new weapons systems. That gets money into the system fast and creates/saves jobs almost immediately. It lets the suppliers retool as well as the final assemblers.

‘How People Really Use the iPhone’ 

Interesting analysis of the iPhone user experience, based on observing novice iPhone users. I think a better title would be “How People Learn to Use the iPhone”.

AutoZone, the Objective-C Garbage Collector 

Apple has released AutoZone, the Objective-C garbage collector, as open source under the Apache license.

Charles Arthur’s Brief Comparison of the Flip Mino and Kodak Zi6 

I have both a Flip Ultra (not the newer, smaller Mino) and the Kodak Zi6, and I pretty much agree with Arthur’s assessment. I’ll add that the Flip has a significantly wider field of view, which reduces camera shake and which I find more useful overall.

But wait: Andy Ihnatko reports that he is in possession of a just-released Flip MinoHD.

Update: Here are the specs on the new MinoHD. According to Pure Digital, it has even better low-light sensitivity than the older Flips.

Cornerstone vs. Versions, Again 

Jade Ohlhauser revisits his comparison review of the Subversion clients Cornerstone and Versions.

Yours Truly on MacBreak Weekly 

I’m a guest on this week’s episode of MacBreak Weekly, alongside Andy Ihnatko, Jon Rettinger, and host Leo Laporte. Topics include: the Mark Papermaster/Tony Fadell saga at Apple, iPhone apps, and more.

How to Fix a Flat 

Thomas Friedman on the U.S. auto industry, and its desire for a blank check from the government to rescue it from bankruptcy:

They were interviewing Bob Nardelli, the C.E.O. of Chrysler, and he was explaining why the auto industry, at that time, needed $25 billion in loan guarantees. It wasn’t a bailout, he said. It was a way to enable the car companies to retool for innovation. I could not help but shout back at the TV screen: “We have to subsidize Detroit so that it will innovate? What business were you people in other than innovation?”

And:

Lastly, somebody ought to call Steve Jobs, who doesn’t need to be bribed to do innovation, and ask him if he’d like to do national service and run a car company for a year. I’d bet it wouldn’t take him much longer than that to come up with the G.M. iCar.

They may not get the Steve Jobs, but they certainly need a Steve Jobs type leader.

Coda 1.6 

Lots of new stuff in the latest version of Panic’s “one-window web development” tool, but the biggest, by far, is the new plugin interface. In addition to an API for compiled Cocoa plugins, Coda 1.6 also allows you to build text manipulating plugins from shell script languages like Perl, Python, and Ruby, and includes a very nifty Coda Plugin Creator tool for packaging scripts into the proper bundle format. Much like with TextMate bundles, multiple scripts can be packaged together into a single Coda plugin (and, in fact, Coda supports TextMate-compatible environment variables for metadata such as the current line number and the path to the current file).

iTunes 99-Cent Movie of the Week: ‘Mission: Impossible’ 

Brian De Palma at his Hitchcock-channeling best.

Fusion Ads 

Given how successful The Deck has been, and how much better I believe The Deck’s basic model to be versus “regular” web advertising, I’ve long wondered why there weren’t any other Deck-like ad networks. Now there is one: Fusion Ads. Good ideas deserve to spread; I hope this blossoms.

Sprint’s Now Dashboard 

Hypnotizing.

Update: Kottke has details on who built it.

The Muppet Whatnot Workshop 

Design and build your own Muppet. Fantastic. (Via Chris Glass.)

Fishworks: Now It Can Be Told 

Behind-the-scenes story of Sun’s new high-performance storage products. Sure would be nice to hear stories like this out of Apple. (Via John Siracusa.)

iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor 

Back in July 2007 I linked to a Python script by Pádraig Kennedy called iPhone Backup Decoder; it could parse the backup files iTunes stores when you sync your iPhone (or iPod Touch, although the Touch wasn’t even out yet at that time).

Kennedy has now created iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor, a proper Mac application that converts these backup files into user-accessible files on your Mac. It works with the data from any application, including those installed from the App Store. Craig Hockenberry is already using it to debug hard-to-reproduce bugs.

Free, but donations are encouraged. I kicked in €20.

Pixelmator 1.3 

Performance and feature update to the $59 image editor. New features include a revamped UI for hue/saturation adjustments.

Non-Compete Clauses and California 

So the big question with Mark Papermaster is whether the non-compete clause in his IBM contract is enforceable. I had forgotten about this, but a few months ago the California State Supreme Court ruled non-competes unenforceable in California. I don’t think it applies in this case, though, because IBM isn’t a California company.

Update 1: Here’s the conclusion from the ruling in Application Group, Inc. v. Hunter Group, Inc., 61 Cal.App.4th 881 (1998), a California non-compete clause case:

We further conclude, in agreement with the trial court, that California law may be applied to determine the enforceability of a covenant not to compete, in an employment agreement between an employee who is not a resident of California and an employer whose business is based outside of California, when a California-based employer seeks to recruit or hire the nonresident for employment in California.

(Thanks to DF reader Adam Younker.)

Update 2: Here’s the full text of the decision.

iLife Support 8.3.1 

Bug-fix and security update to the iLife ’08 suite for users running Mac OS X 10.4.11.

Finder Tab Completion 

Good tip from Brent Simmons. It also works in the Go To Folder sheet in Open and Save dialog boxes (which sheet is accessible using the keystroke Command-Shift-G). Update: Several readers emailed to point out that, in Open and Save dialogs, you can also invoke the Go To Folder sheet just by typing “/” or “~”.

Count It Off, From Sketches to Finished iPhone App 

Brian Cooke on the design of his new iPhone calorie counter Count It Off.

They’re Paying People to Take New Razrs 

The NPD Group is reporting that the iPhone 3G is now the top-selling consumer mobile phone in the U.S., beating the Motorola Razr for the top spot. The BlackBerry Curve is third. To put this in perspective, LetsTalk is offering rebates that wind up paying you $30 to take a new Razr V3.

WSJ: Dell Cancels New Digital Music Player 

(Linking through Google News in an attempt to route around the Journal’s subscriber wall.) Justin Scheck and Christopher Lawton report:

Dell has decided not to launch an ambitious consumer product it hoped to release before the holidays — a digital music player tied to online entertainment software — says a person familiar with the matter.

This, presumably, was the initiative for which Dell brought on Rob Enderle as a consultant.

Fortune Profiles Tim Cook 

Good profile of Tim Cook by Adam Lashinsky.

In my opinion there’s no question that if Jobs left Apple in the near future, Cook would replace him as CEO. Could Cook replace Jobs as a product visionary? No, of course not. But no one could. There is only one Steve Jobs, and any effort to find “another Steve Jobs” is bound to fail. Better to have a gifted operations manager running a federated Apple than an inferior imitation Jobs. And long-term — say, assuming Jobs remains CEO for the next 10 or even 20 years — there’s no use speculating about successors.

The Papermaster Chronicles: An Apple vs. IBM Timeline 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt runs down the increasingly complex saga of Apple’s new senior VP Mark Papermaster. On Friday, IBM won an injunction in court to force Papermaster to at least temporarily cease working for Apple, based on a non-compete clause in his contract with IBM.

NYT Profile on Nate Silver 

A lot of people asked me over the last few weeks why I was so certain Obama would win, or why I wasn’t a nervous wreck (especially for the brief period in September when McCain took a small lead in most polls). The answer is Nate Silver. Or, more specifically, Nate Silver’s math. Silver, along with his colleagues at FiveThirtyEight, established themselves as the gold standard in electoral analysis — and this was the first election they’ve covered.

Deep, Unbiased, Technical Comparison of Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7 

Interesting points with regard to touch-screen capabilities. (Via Glenn Fleishman.)

Dynamic ‘default.png’ Files for Third-Party iPhone Apps 

iPhone developer Patrick Collison shows how third-party developers can get dynamic “default.png” files, similar to Apple’s own apps, using a symlink in the app bundle that points to a path outside the bundle but within the app’s sandbox.

I still say the whole idea of displaying a UI that looks ready to use but is not ready at all is a bad idea. Several readers emailed to suggest an intriguing compromise: iPhone apps should store a screenshot of the current display when quitting, but then when showing that screenshot when next they launch, dim/fade/desaturate the display to indicate that it’s not yet ready to use. That way, if there’s something worth reading or looking at in the default.png, you can see it instantly, but there’s no confusion about when you can start tapping.

Headphone Cable Wrapping Techniques 

With video examples. Update: And another example.

Specifying Performance 

David Weiss, on measuring and specifying software performance:

While performance is one of the most important nonfunctional requirements, it’s often the most difficult to define. For new features it’s difficult to know where to set the performance goal because there’s not always some similar functionality to compare it against. Further, how would you define “slow” or “fast” in an objective and verifiable way? Confronted with this problem most software engineers simply skip this section of requirements with the justification, “If it’s too slow, I’ll see it and we’ll fix it then. I know slow when I see it.” If performance is specified, often some arbitrary time limit is set with little reasoning behind the performance goal.

Splatter Exhibition in London 

Art exhibition regarding “the plausible impossibility of death in the mind of cartoon characters”. (Thanks to Daniel Nelson.)

Bizarre Android Bug 

Ed Burnette:

It turns out the bug in Android I wrote about yesterday was worse than we thought. When the phone booted it started up a command shell as root and sent every keystroke you ever typed on the keyboard from then on to that shell. Thus every word you typed, in addition to going to the foreground application would be silently and invisibly interpreted as a command and executed with superuser privileges.

This isn’t after the phone was attacked or modified, this is apparently a bug in a shipping version of the Android OS. Google has already issued a fix, but, still, this is bizarre.

Philip Greenspun: ‘Let G.M. Go Bankrupt’ 

America seems to have an irrational soft spot for its auto industry. It’s a shame that these once-great companies have fallen so far, but the simple truth is that Ford and G.M. make ugly, inefficient cars that few people want to buy.

Using International Keyboard Characters to Change the iPhone Notes App Font to Helvetica 

I know about this trick, but people keep emailing me about it, so I guess I ought to link to it. No one hates Marker Felt more than I do, but this just isn’t worth the effort in my opinion — (a) you have to enable the international keyboards button system-wide; and (b) you have to switch keyboards, insert a Japanese glyph, delete it, then switch back to the U.S. keyboard for each and every note you create. No thanks.

The Man Who Knows Too Much 

Nice profile by Rachel Cooke of Seymour Hersh — 71 years old and still one of the top investigative reporters in the world.

Lessons Learned While Building an iPhone Site 

Ross Harmes from Flickr on the lessons they learned developing their outstanding iPhone-optimized web site.

Understanding the WPA Crack 

Glenn Fleishman explains the newly-discovered exploit against Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).

Macworld Conference and Expo 

My thanks to Macworld Conference and Expo for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. This year’s Macworld runs from 5-9 January 2009, and once again, will be held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Their web site has information on conference sessions, special presentations, and expo hall highlights and activities. To say that it’s the premier annual Apple-focused consumer event in the U.S. is an understatement.

Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String 

With regard to yesterday’s piece on tangle-resistant earphone cables, here’s a 2007 paper on the spontaneous formation of knots in jostled strings. The conclusion, in brief, is that the stiffer the string, the fewer the knots. The authors won the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics for this paper. (Thanks to Rupert Nash.)

(Speaking of yesterday’s piece, I added a small update this morning.)

Barack Obama, Behind the Scenes on Election Night 

Flickr set from Obama campaign photographer David Katz. Here’s Obama watching John McCain’s concession speech.

AT&T Chief Says iPhone Tethering Coming Soon 

Harry McCracken:

AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega just told interviewer Michael Arrington that the company is working with Apple to let the iPhone serve as a tethered wireless modem for laptops soon.

I wonder how much it’s going to cost per month.

Mark Newman’s Election Maps 

I love this sort of thing. Mark Newman has created a variety of maps showing election results with states and counties scaled to represent population and relative Electoral College weight.

Steve Ballmer Dismisses Google Android 

CNet:

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Thursday dismissed the Android mobile operating system, saying he believed that building it was financially unsound for Google. […]

He questioned Google’s ability to make money with Android. “I don’t really understand their strategy. Maybe somebody else does. If I went to my shareholder meeting, my analyst meeting, and said, ‘Hey, we’ve just launched a new product that has no revenue model!’… I’m not sure that my investors would take that very well. But that’s kind of what Google’s telling their investors about Android,” he said.

Just like how Google’s search engine has no revenue model. And just like how, according to Ballmer, there was “no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”

Election Night Homepages 

Jim Ray:

I ran a script on a half-hour interval that screengrabbed the homepages of several major news websites, starting at 3pm Pacific, running until 10pm Pacific. These are the results, grouped by time and by source. This was all completely automated, please blame any errors on our robot overlords.

What a great idea.

Grant Park Obama Rally 

Love this picture from The Chicago Tribune of the crowd at last night’s celebration in Grant Park — those are the Grubers and Coudals right smack dab in the middle. Look for the two young lads riding on shoulders.

The Front Pages 

Newspaper front pages from around the world.

A Proclamation 

That’s it for today. See you in Chicago.

Matt Gemmell on the UI Design of His iPhone App ‘Favorites’ 

Sweating the details.

Tony Fadell, Senior VP of iPod Division, Leaving Apple 

To be replaced by Mark Papermaster, from IBM.

Apple Confirms No New Products for Rest of 2008 

Every year there’s some stupid rumor that Apple is going to release new products late in the year, well into the holiday season, despite the fact that it would make no strategic sense to do so. And every year it doesn’t happen. Good for Apple to just state the obvious.

FBR Chip Analyst Craig Berger’s Questionable Track Record With Apple 

Andy Zaky:

One thing that this article should clearly demonstrate is that Craig Berger’s rantings on production rates have an almost zero correlation when it comes to actual sales.

Why You Will Not See Opera on Your iPhone 

Saul Hansell goes back to Opera CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner to get the full story on Opera Mini and the iPhone:

So I went back to Mr. von Tetzchner for more details. He said that the development of the iPhone browser was more an “internal project” of some engineers than a product that management was committed to introducing. Indeed, development was halted after the company looked at the details of the license agreement in Apple’s software development kit and realized that it would not be permitted.

“We stopped the work because of the prohibitive license,” Mr. von Tetzchner wrote in an e-mail.

Porsche Breaks the Hedge Funds 

Speaking of The Economist, they have a great summary of how Porsche more or less pantsed a bunch of hedge funds and stealthily took a controlling share of Volkswagen.

The story itself is interesting, but there’s a larger lesson. Common sense would suggest that it would be Volkswagen taking over Porsche, not the other way around. I see Volkswagens on the street everywhere; I sometimes go a week without seeing a single Porsche. But unit sales are not the goal of business, profit is — and Porsche’s is a more profitable business. (Insert your own analogy between Porsche and Apple here.)

The Economist: ‘It’s Time’ 

Another good example of conservatives making a strong case for electing Obama. Their previous endorsements are rather interesting (e.g. Bill Clinton in 1992 but Bob Dole in 1996).

A Conservative for Obama 

Some of the most interesting and thoughtful endorsements for Barack Obama that I’ve seen are those from conservatives. My favorite is this one from Wick Allison, former publisher of The National Review.

Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results. Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Tap Tap Revenge NIN Edition 

Brilliant idea. Take a very popular free game (Tap Tap Revenge), work out a licensing deal with a popular band (Nine Inch Nails), and then sell a special version of the game using music from that band for $5. The comments on the App Store page for the game are effusive.

While most of the recording industry continues to plot ways to frustrate its customers, Trent Reznor is finding ways to make money and delight his fans.

Fraser Speirs on Apple Retail Store Field Trips 

Sounds like it would be a great thing for Saturday mornings. That the educational aspects of the trip are well-done makes no difference with regard to my criticism, however. Nothing will convince me there’s any place for something so blatantly commercial on a school day.

Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging 

This is such a great idea.

This. Fucking. Election. 

Sums it up.

Tony Scida on the Sonos iPhone App 

The iPhone is the ultimate programmable remote for Wi-Fi-enabled home entertainment equipment.

No Labs Love for Google Apps 

Dan Benjamin on the differences in IMAP support between regular Gmail and Google Apps.

Steven Frank Tries a T-Mobile G1 

Steven Frank, testing out a T-Mobile G1, on the physical keyboard:

It’s a blessing and a curse. The keyboard is very good quality, and reminds me fondly of the Sidekick. The problem is you have to use it for absolutely any input, because there is no on-screen keyboard. I can’t help but think this might change in a future update.

I played with a G1 in a T-Mobile store for about 15 minutes, and this was my biggest irritation by far. You cannot input any text whatsoever in the vertical (hardware keyboard closed) orientation, but you can put input focus on text fields. It simply begs for an iPhone-style on-screen keyboard.

Chase Utley 

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley’s address to the fans. This is why I love this town.

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