Linked List: June 2010

Fancypants iOS 4 Folder Names 

Clever tip from Jeff Richardson: use Neven Mrgan’s Glyphboard to make fancy iOS folder names.

David Pogue Reviews the Motorola Droid X 

Worth it just for his coinage of “app phones” as a name for the iPhone and Android class of devices. Update: Ends up Pogue has been using “app phones” since his review of the original Droid back in November.

Amazon Buys Woot 

Woot CEO Matt Rutledge:

Other than that, we plan to continue to run Woot the way we have always run Woot — with a wall of ideas and a dartboard.

Mobile Browser Cache Limits for Android, iOS, and WebOS 

Interesting research from Ryan Grove at Yahoo. I was not aware that MobileSafari didn’t support Last-Modified and ETag headers until iOS 4.

Microsoft Kills Kin 

Serious question: Everyone knew these Kin phones were turds from the moment they leaked. They were unappealing on their own and were a distraction from Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s “real” effort to get back in the game. Microsoft is full of smart people; I’ll bet most people at Microsoft knew these things were doomed, too. So how did these things ever see the light of day?

My answer: Steve Ballmer has no taste, so there’s no plan, so middle managers just run amok and waste hundreds of millions of dollars and years of time on projects like Kin.

Regarding the Verizon/iPhone Hardware Issue 

John Biggs:

Tell me “I told you so” in six months, but Bloomberg’s exciting news that two dudes said something about the iPhone coming to Verizon is false until we see hardware and there has been no hardware. Apple picked GSM because it is an international standard. CDMA, the system used by Verizon and Sprint, is about as international as American beer – both are considered weak and both are reviled.

It’s true that a Verizon iPhone would require new hardware. But that’s not a holdup. I’m nearly certain that a Verizon-compatible iPhone is pretty much like the Intel-compatible version of Mac OS X — something that Apple has kept going all along, ready to put into production when, if ever, its time comes.

It’s all strategy and negotiations. I wouldn’t have been shocked if they’d gone to Verizon a year ago, and wouldn’t be shocked if it doesn’t happen for another two or three years. But whenever the time comes, hardware won’t hold it up.

Microscopic Photos of the iPhone 4’s Gyroscope 

I love these iFixit guys.

The Results of Technologizer’s iPad Owner Survey 

They like it. (One tidbit that jumped out to me: the built-in Notes app garnered unusually low scores.)

Vuvuzelas for BP 

Count me in.

Jonathan Ive on the Design of the iPhone 4 

Huge score for Core77 — an interview with Jonathan Ive regarding the design of the iPhone 4.

“The best design explicitly acknowledges that you cannot disconnect the form from the material — the material informs the form,” says Ive. “It is the polar opposite of working virtually in CAD to create an arbitrary form that you then render as a particular material, annotating a part and saying ‘that’s wood’ and so on. Because when an object’s materials, the materials’ processes and the form are all perfectly aligned, that object has a very real resonance on lots of levels. People recognize that object as authentic and real in a very particular way.”

‘How a Broker Spent $520 Million in a Drunken Stupor and Moved the Global Oil Price’ 

Rowena Mason, reporting for The Telegraph:

By 10am it emerged that Mr Perkins had single-handedly moved the global price of oil to an eight-month high during a “drunken blackout”. Prices leapt by more than $1.50 a barrel in under half an hour at around 2am – the kind of sharp swing caused by events of geo-political significance. Ten times the usual volume of futures contracts changed hands in just one hour.

Now that’s a bender. (Via Chris Espinosa.)

Lightning Strikes Three Buildings in Chicago at Once 

Gorgeous video by Craig Shimala. (Via Jack Shedd.)

Richard Gaywood on the iPhone 4 Signal Issue 

Best piece on the issue I’ve seen so far:

If you’re in a strong signal area, you may not ever see the effect, because even with the attenuation from holding the phone you’ll still have plenty of signal left over. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be affected by the issue unless you are never, ever in a weaker signal area — and the second test above suggests that 3G data transfer rates are still going to be slower anyway.

His conclusions: with a strong signal, iPhone 4 reception is slightly worse when “holding it wrong”, but you’re unlikely to notice. But with a marginal signal, how you hold the iPhone 4 matters very much.

Lee Brimelow’s Blog Post on the iPad’s Lack of Flash Needs an Update 

His top three examples for why the iPad needs Flash: FarmVille, Hulu, and, all of which now offer Flash-free alternatives for iOS devices.

Update: Make that his top four reasons.

Bloomberg: Verizon iPhone in January 

Amy Thomson, reporting for Bloomberg:

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone company, will start selling Apple Inc.’s iPhone next year, ending AT&T Inc.’s exclusive hold on the smartphone in the U.S., two people familiar with the plans said.

I’ll believe it when I see. Who’d leak this now? Apple? No way. Why distract from the just-released red hot iPhone 4? Makes more sense as a leak from Verizon, intended to placate existing customers thinking about jumping ship.

But, who knows? This report from Bloomberg seems certain. Let’s see who else gets the same leak.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 

Shot (but not edited) using an iPhone 4. (Via Jalopnik.)

Hulu Plus 

New $10/month subscription service from Hulu, with a lot of content and support for HD streaming to the iPhone and iPad, and a slew of other TVs and devices. Not (yet?) on the list: Android.

I must be confused, because I thought Hulu was the biggest reason why Apple needs to add support for Flash to iOS. (Good luck using Flash to watch HD streaming video, Android users.)

Another Nail in the Pageview Coffin 

Mike Davidson:

This weekend, launched a sweeping redesign of the most important part of their site: the story page. The result is something unlike anything any other major news site is offering and is a bold step in a direction no competitor has gone down (yet): the elimination of pageviews as a primary metric.

Bravo, I love it.

David Kassan Paints a Portrait Using Brushes for iPad 

Yet another guy who didn’t get the memo that the iPad is for consumption, not creation.

How to Put a Phone Call on Hold With iPhone 4 

The FaceTime button replaces the Hold button; to hold a call, press-and-hold on the Mute button.

iPhone 4 vs. HTC Evo and Vice-Versa 

Profanely funny.

Cross-Browser Kerning-Pairs and Ligatures Using CSS 

News to me: text-rendering: optimizeLegibility. Not sure why this isn’t on by default — performance, I guess. (Via Naz Hamid.)

Vin Scully 

Tyler Kepner on 82-year-old Vin Scully, who’s been calling games for the Dodgers since 1950 — eight years before the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. With Mel Allen and Harry Kalas gone, Scully is indisputably the voice of baseball.

Why Do People Play FarmVille? 

A.J. Patrick Liszkiewicz:

Again: if FarmVille is laborious to play and aesthetically boring, why are so many people playing it? The answer is disarmingly simple: people are playing FarmVille because people are playing FarmVille.

Update: Says DF reader James Murray via email, FarmVille is like a “Ponzi scheme of attention.”

Apple’s Apostrophe Bait and Switch 

Mike Monteiro on the iOS 4 keyboard’s apostrophe key. I disagree slightly with his suggestion to Apple; rather than make the key default to an apostrophe, they should add “Smart Quotes” to iOS and turn it on by default. Flipping single and double quotes the right way is not a hard problem to solve. Even I can do it.

The use of primes and double primes in lieu of proper apostrophes and quotation marks is far more glaring on the Retina Display than before.

The Spot 

Cameron Hunt demonstrates the magic spot on his iPhone 4 on which, if he places a finger, 3G reception stops.

Update: But Hunt can’t reproduce the problem from every location.

‘Apple of My Eye’ 

Short film by Michael Koerbel, shot and edited entirely on an iPhone 4. Someone apparently forgot to send him the memo that iOS devices are only for consumption, not creation.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 Game Plan Leaked 

So I guess their plan is to get Scott Forstall to do a “Windows 8 was my idea” commercial.

Adam Greenfield on Apple’s Infatuation With Skeuomorphic Graphic Design 

Adam Greenfield:

I’m talking about the persistent skeuomorphic design cues that spoor applications like Calendar, Compass, iBooks and the truly awful Notes. The iPhone and iPad, as I argued on the launch of the original in 2007, are history’s first full-fledged everyware devices — post-PC interface devices of enormous power and grace — and here somebody in Apple’s UX shop has saddled them with the most awful and mawkish and flat-out tacky visual cues. You can credibly accuse Cupertino of any number of sins over the course of the last thirty years, but tackiness has not ordinarily numbered among them.

This trend used to bother me as well, but I’ve grown to accept it. I think the trick is in doing it well — when it is, it makes people happy. I like the iPad Calendar app, for example. What I don’t understand is Apple’s lack of consistency in this regard. Why does the iPad Calendar app get the skeuomorphic treatment but not the iPhone version? (Notes, for example, gets it in both.)

‘AT-AT Day Afternoon’ 

Lovely short film by Patrick Boivin.

Great New Yorker Cover by Bob Staake 

Also: The New Yorker has a Tumblr site? (Via John Nack.)

Kindle for Android 

Looks very much like Kindle for iPhone (but without, for now, the just-announced audio/video support).

Copy iPhone 4’s iMovies to iPad Via Camera Connection Kit 

Great idea; too bad the Camera Connection Kit still shows 4-6 weeks for delivery from Apple’s online store.

The iPhone 4 FaceTime Ad Isn’t the Only Smartphone Ad That’ll Make You Tear Up 

Verizon’s new Droid X spot makes my eyes feel funny, too.

iOS Icons Recreated in Pure CSS 

Amazing work by Louis Harboe.

Apple’s First TV Spot for iPhone 4 

All about FaceTime. They showed a slightly longer cut of this spot during the WWDC keynote, and at the end, when the deaf couple use FaceTime to talk, the audience broke out in the loudest applause of the whole keynote.

Apparently the ad only started airing yesterday, so they’ve sold nearly 2 million iPhones before spending a dollar advertising it.

Amazon Adds Audio and Video Support to Kindle App for iOS 

Interesting: the Kindle app for iOS devices now offers more functionality than the Kindle hardware.

Yankees 8, Dodgers 6, 10 Innings 

I hope you didn’t miss last night’s spectacular Yankees comeback against the Dodgers and former Yankee manager Joe Torre. It was one for the ages.

‘How Do You Hold Your Nokia?’ 

Nokia makes hay of iPhone 4 reception issue. (Via Matt Drance.)

Update: Instructions for how to hold the Nokia 2320. And, even better, here’s video showing a Nokia E71 with the exact same problem.

First Three Days of iPhone 4 Sales: 1.7 Million 


Apple today announced that it has sold over 1.7 million of its iPhone 4 through Saturday, June 26, just three days after its launch on June 24.

Doesn’t count any of the people waiting for the white ones.

Jon Lech Johansen: ‘Google’s Mismanagement of the Android Market’ 

Maybe it is a Wild West free-for-all. What a fucking mess.

Microsoft by the Numbers 

Microsoft’s Frank Shaw makes the case for Microsoft as the biggest show in town. And MG Siegler interprets.

Ford Stops Production of Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car 

End of an era.

Regular People Don’t Think About ‘Smartphones’ 

Kevin C. Tofel:

To keep things simple, I started the conversation by asking: “How many of your parents use a smartphone?” Not a single student raised their hand. […] But then the light bulb went on and I asked: “How many of your parents have an iPhone?” Nearly two-thirds of the hands went up.

That’s how normal people think. The iPhone 4 isn’t a new smartphone; it’s a new iPhone. This isn’t unique to Apple — I’d say the same thing goes for Windows and Office, and definitely BlackBerrys. But Apple is really good at it.

What Is Fast App Switching? 

Nice layman’s overview from Matt Neuburg.

Yankees vs. Dodgers 

Tonight the Yankees face off against Joe Torre for the first time.


My thanks to MailChimp for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote ChimpKit, a complete Objective-C wrapper for their MailChimp API. MailChimp is a terrific email marketing and mailing list service, and ChimpKit lets you connect email addresses and add them to mailing lists from directly within your app itself.

Try it out and MailChimp will give you six months of free, unlimited sending — no matter how big your list, or how frequent your messages. If you’ve got an app published on the App Store, sign up and MailChimp will comp your account. Now that’s a great demo offer.

Blippr, a New (to Me at Least) JavaScript-Powered Rollover Minefield 

Sort of like those double-underscore keyword jerks, but with the added indignity of inline smiley emoticons. Stay classy, Mashable. Update: Ends up Mashable actually bought Blippr back in March 2009. Amazing.

Another reason that it pays for developers to adopt new APIs quickly — do a good job and Apple may lend a promotional hand.

iPhone 4 Tops Macworld’s Smartphone Camera Test 

Heather Kelly:

Unsurprisingly, the two point-and-shoot cameras came in first in our image quality tests. The next best camera, and the highest scoring of all the smartphone cameras that we tested, was none other than the iPhone 4. Next in the rankings was the Droid X, followed by the EVO 4G, the Samsung Galaxy, and way at the bottom, the iPhone 3GS.

David Foster Wallace on FaceTime 

Kottke quotes from Infinite Jest; I thought of this right after the WWDC keynote finished.

Enabling and Disabling FaceTime 

When I first started using my iPhone 4 yesterday in its default factory-fresh state, FaceTime worked just fine. But then after restoring from a backup of my old iPhone 3GS, FaceTime was no longer available. No FaceTime button during phone calls, no FaceTime button in my Contacts listings.

The problem: after restoring from that backup, FaceTime was disabled. After toggling it back on in Settings → Phone, FaceTime was back to working as expected.

Theory on the bug: my iPhone 3GS had already been updated to iOS 4.0, which perhaps meant the preference setting for this toggle was turned off because that phone isn’t FaceTime-capable. I’ll bet if I had restored from a backup of a device still on iOS 3, the FaceTime setting would have stayed at the default value of “On”. Update: Based on comments from several readers, that’s not it — some have restored from a 4.0 backup and FaceTime was on by default, and others have restored from a 3.1.3 backup and had it off by default. Best guess now: it depends whether you restore from backup the very first time you connect the phone to iTunes. If you do, FaceTime is on by default; if not, it’s off. (I didn’t restore at first, because I wanted to use it right away.)

My First FaceTime Call, Recorded for Posterity 

Clayton Morris and yours truly, trying out FaceTime.

Christopher Breen on iMovie for iPhone 

I love this app.

‘These Pixels Are Remarkably Small’ 

Retina neuroscientist Bryan Jones on the Retina Display, including incredible macro photography of the various iOS device displays.

Update: Site’s running slow; here’s a cached version that should be faster.

App Store Scammers of the Week (iTunes Link) 

Here’s an App Store developer whose body of work in the store consists of gems like this $200 “43 Nutrition Secrets” and this $100 guide to adware and spyware. Best of all is the developer’s name: “Hot Asian Girls”.

(Thanks to DF reader “Zr40” for the tip.)

Google Exercises Android Market Remote Application Removal Feature 

Rich Cannings, Android security lead:

Recently, we became aware of two free applications built by a security researcher for research purposes. These applications intentionally misrepresented their purpose in order to encourage user downloads, but they were not designed to be used maliciously, and did not have permission to access private data — or system resources beyond permission.INTERNET. As the applications were practically useless, most users uninstalled the applications shortly after downloading them.

After the researcher voluntarily removed these applications from Android Market, we decided, per the Android Market Terms of Service, to exercise our remote application removal feature on the remaining installed copies to complete the cleanup.

Proof that their system works as intended. Also proof that while Android Market is significantly less regulated than Apple’s App Store, it’s not a Wild West free-for-all.

Nice Job, New York Times 

Story by Miguel Helft for The New York Times on the “disappearing bars depending how you hold it” iPhone 4 issue, based mostly on coverage of the issue by Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz and Brian Lam, with no mention whatsoever of Gizmodo/Diaz/Lam’s — how shall we say? — rather testy relationship with Apple of late.

The best part? Despite the fact that the article is ostensibly about problems with the iPhone 4’s reception, it ends with this:

Even Brian Lam, Gizmodo’s editorial director, saw an upside to the iPhone 4, antenna problems and all. “We are paying attention to the antenna issue because it could be a big deal,” he said.

But Mr. Lam said that for years, he had not been able to use older iPhones to make calls from his home. That changed on Thursday, after he bought an iPhone 4. “I have made three hours of calls today,” he said.

“Antenna problems and all”, indeed.

Engadget on the iPhone 4’s Reception 

Engadget has this official statement from Apple on the iPhone 4 reception issue:

Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.

The key phrase is “if you ever experience this”; most iPhone 4 users seem unaffected by this. Engadget has a video showing the same thing happening with an iPhone 3G from 2008, and Joshua Topolsky admits that in their testing of the iPhone 4, “we had improved reception and fewer dropped calls than we experienced with the last generation, and we never noticed this issue.”

My best guess at this point is that the issue pops up in areas with spotty 3G coverage. With nothing covering the antenna, the improved reception of the iPhone 4 gives you more bars, maybe even up to 5. But when you cover the antenna in these areas with poor coverage, the phone is unable to get a strong signal. I’ve seen several reports from people who can reproduce the problem, but only from certain locations.

Antenna Engineer Spencer Webb on the iPhone 4 

Spencer Webb:

Just about every cell phone in current production has the antenna located at the bottom.  This insures that the radiating portion of the antenna is furthest from the head.  Apple was not the first to locate the antenna on the bottom, and certainly won’t be the last.  The problem is that humans have their hands below their ears, so the most natural position for the hand is covering the antenna.  This can’t be a good design decision, can it?  How can we be stuck with this conundrum?  It’s the FCC’s fault.

‘Just Avoid Holding It in That Way’ 

I don’t know if this signal-degradation-in-left-hand thing is really a widespread problem or not yet, but it’s not reasonable to tell people not to hold the phone this way.

Targeting the iPhone 4 Retina Display With CSS3 Media Queries 

Walt Dickinson has more on targeting CSS specifically for double-pixel-density devices.

Field Notes ‘County Fair’ Special Editions 

I’d wait another nine hours in the hot sun to get my hands on these, too.

iLounge’s Guide to iOS 4 

Lots of details and observations on what’s new in iOS 4, from Jesse David Hollington.

Peter Cohen: ‘Hands on With the iPhone 4’ 

Peter Cohen at Loop Insight, on the iPhone 4’s 3G reception:

So far, I think the iPhone 4 is very much a move in the right direction. I admit I’m working with only a few hours of use here, but I’ve been able to make and maintain calls on my iPhone 4 in “dead zones” that have killed by iPhone 3G repeatedly.

There’s been some early talk about how the reception of the antenna drops dramatically when the fold is being held, particularly in the left hand. I’ve seen my iPhone 4′s bars drop myself by doing this.

My question is whether certain people’s hands trigger the problem with any iPhone 4 unit, or whether certain iPhone 4 units are susceptible to the problem with anybody’s hands.

How to Target CSS for iPhone 4’s Retina Display 

Thomas Maier on using CSS media queries to delivery optimized CSS for the Retina Display. (Via WebKitBits.)

Video Footage Comparison Between iPhone 4, 3GS, and Flip Ultra HD 

The Flip has better color saturation to my eyes, but lags while panning or moving. Very close in quality overall.

iPhone 4 In-Hand Signal Issue Isolated to Bottom Left Corner 

Seems like the topic of the day is that some people are seeing their 3G signal degrade when they hold the phone in their left hand, or in some other way such that their skin is touching the lower left corner of the device. It doesn’t seem universal though — I got mine two hours ago and can’t reproduce the problem, nor can the handful of iPhone 4-toting friends I’ve spoken to. But some people clearly have a problem here.

Jim Dalrymple theorizes that it’s moisture on the skin, and that perhaps the problem slipped through Apple’s testing process because so much of Apple’s off-campus testing took place with these phones wrapped in cases, so as to disguise them as iPhone 3G/3GS’s.

YouTube Wins Case Against Viacom 

Kent Walker, Google VP and general counsel:

Today, the court granted our motion for summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit with YouTube. This means that the court has decided that YouTube is protected by the safe harbor of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) against claims of copyright infringement. The decision follows established judicial consensus that online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online.

Derek Powazek on the iPhone 4 Camera 

Derek Powazek:

Just look at the detail and clarity. I’ve owned digital cameras that took crappier photos.

I don’t know if I’ll ever buy another pocket-size point-and-shoot camera. Dedicated point-and-shoots still take better pictures than any camera phone, but not so much better that it’s worth carrying an extra device. And Flip-style dedicated pocket video cameras? Forget it, they’re dead.

Draft: iPad Sketching App From 37signals 

Integrates nicely with Campfire.

Display Discoloration on Some iPhone 4 Units 

Yellow spots and bands on some units, alas.

The New Flickr Photo Page 

Terrific work from Flickr: bigger photos, better navigation between pictures, and an excellent built-in dark-background “light box” mode.

A Fluid Hicksdesign 

Rather amazing fluid web layout by Jon Hicks.

White iPhone 4 Won’t Be Available Until Second Half of July 


White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have proven more challenging to manufacture than expected, and as a result they will not be available until the second half of July. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.


Meg Marco for Consumerist, on Apple’s updated section on location data in its privacy policy:

Apple updated its privacy policy today, with an important, and dare we say creepy new paragraph about location information.

Here’s the text of Apple’s updated location privacy policy:

To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.

Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.

How is this “creepy”? Location data on iOS is always explicitly opt-in. You, the user, must grant applications explicit permission to access location data — including Apple’s own system apps. This policy spells out what happens when you do grant this permission. Whenever location data is being accessed, you get an indicator in the status bar. And in Settings → General → Location Services you get a listing of every app with location privileges, the ability to turn it off, and an indicator for each app that has accessed your location within the last 24 hours.

Forrester Analysts Predicts iPad Sales Will Plummet 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, on a new report from Forrester analyst Sarah Rottman Epps:

But in the text of the full report, and in the accompanying chart, Epps estimates that U.S. sales for tablet computers from all manufacturers will total 3.5 million in 2010. In other words, in Forrester’s opinion, the 2 million iPads Apple sold in April and May were a fluke. It will be lucky sell 1.5 million in the U.S. between June and December — or fewer than 215,000 per month.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Apple announced the three-millionth iPad sold. (Many of them now, admittedly, outside the U.S.)

Adobe: The New Yorker Is Coming to the iPad 


The New Yorker, the iconic magazine title from publisher Condé Nast, confirmed today that it will use the Digital Magazine Solution from Adobe to create an engaging magazine experience for tablet devices like the iPad.

Engadget’s iPhone 4 Review 

Detailed, insightful review by Joshua Topolsky. (Nice touch: the video clips are published using HTML5 when you read the article from an iOS device.)

Larva Labs Estimates Android Market Payouts Total Only 2 Percent of App Store’s $1B 

John Watkinson from Larva Labs:

Overall we estimate that $6,000,000 has been paid out to developers for games, and $15,000,000 has been paid out on apps. That is a total of $21,000,000, almost 50x lower than the amount paid out to devs on iPhone.

(Larva Labs is one of the few Android developers I’ve seen that’s doing iPhone-caliber work on Android.)


HTML5 developer site from Google. The Playground is particularly cool.

Zachery Bir’s Non-Busy iPhone Wallpapers 

Zachery Bir:

I pretty quickly tired of the bright, busy background images for the wallpaper, and so created a few in Acorn.

See also: Jim Ray’s very dark gray one, Marco Arment’s black leather texture one, and Jason Kottke’s very quiet one.

Video Comparison of iOS 4 Performance on iPhone 3G 

It’s a win across the board performance-wise on the 3GS, but a mixed bag on the older 3G.

Gourmet Live 

Video preview of the new Gourmet.

David Gewirtz Asks: ‘How Many American Jobs Will Steve Jobs Destroy?’ 

Hopefully one more.

Gourmet Magazine Revived for the iPad 

Jenna Wortham for the NYT:

But simply repackaging decades of classic content might not be enough to resonate with millions of avid home cooks who are now used to interacting with others by sharing and commenting on recipes online.

To remedy that, Conde Nast partnered with Activate, a New York-based consulting firm helmed by the media and technology veterans Anil Dash and Michael Wolf, to develop Gourmet Live.

The iPad Keyboard Dock Works With the iPhone 3GS 

Bluetooth keyboards work with iPhones running iOS 4, too.

What If Nokia Went Android? 

“Science fiction” from the astute Jean-Louis Gassée.

Cabel Sasser on Saving Icons for Snow Leopard 

The hassles of color management and icon design.

Duncan Wilcox: ‘Touch Content Creation’ 

Duncan Wilcox:

To a novice user, aiming at something on screen with a mouse is like trying to ring a doorbell using a broomstick. The tool that’s between you and the target object is the cause for the lack of directness. You will get used to it out of necessity, but that doesn’t make it better than direct interaction.

The lack of indirection in the iOS experience is at the heart of what Apple describes as “magical”.

Craig Hockenberry on iOS 4 Multitasking 

Craig Hockenberry:

This sleight of hand makes it feel like you’re running many more applications than you actually are. It also explains how your iPhone can continue to have great battery life while you interact with many different apps. Most of your apps will be frozen and not using power: only the app on your screen is active. And even with audio, phone or GPS apps that are running in the background, you won’t be using more than one of those at a time (go ahead and try to listen to Pandora and the iPod apps at the same time!)

Nik Fletcher: ‘Subtle Changes You May (Or May Not) Notice in iOS 4’ 

Constant, iterative refinement — that’s how Apple rolls.

Dan Frakes on iOS 4 Folders 

Using three folders (“Utilities”, “Photography”, “Reading”) I’ve got all the apps I use most frequently on my first home screen. It took me a while to get used to, but I really like this feature.

Dan Moren’s iOS 4 Review 

Good review from Dan Moren:

While formal benchmarking is tricky on the iPhone, my initial impression of iOS 4 on my iPhone 3GS is that it’s quite snappy — more so than version 3.1.3. The OS as a whole seems more responsive, but there are a couple of places where speed improvements are pronounced: in general, the Camera app running on an iPhone 3GS seems far zippier now than previously. Pictures get taken almost instantaneously, and I didn’t notice any of the sluggishness that has occasionally plagued iPhone 3.0.

I’ve been running the betas (and, since WWDC, the GM release) on my 3GS for weeks, and I agree. iOS 4 feels faster than 3.x on the same hardware.

‘For All Our Failings, Despite Our Limitations and Fallibilities, We Humans Are Capable of Greatness’ 

Wonderful short film by Michael Marantz based on an excerpt from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. (Via Jack Shedd.)

iBooks 1.1 

Now available for the iPhone (on iOS 4), with over-the-air note and bookmark syncing with the iPad version. Also new: PDF reading (with a great reading experience), the option to use Georgia as the e-book typeface (a great choice on the crude pre-Retina Display screens), and — hallelujah — the option to use ragged-right for e-book justification. A great update.


Alex Varanese:

What would you do if you could travel back in time? Assassinate Marilyn Monroe? Go on a date with Hitler? Obviously. But here’s what I’d do after that: grab all the modern technology I could find, take it to the late 70’s, superficially redesign it all to blend in, start a consumer electronics company to unleash it upon the world, then sit back as I rake in billions, trillions, or even millions of dollars.


Google Updates Gmail’s Web Interface on iPad 

Set using Arial instead of Helvetica, of course.

Dharma Initiative Alarm Clock 

“Trust us, brother, this is no way to live.” (Via Dan Benjamin.)

Jacqui Cheng and Clint Ecker’s iOS 4 Review for Ars Technica 

Safari Reader works like a charm to stitch all seven (!) pages into a single scrollable view.

And People Say Paul Thurrott and I Never Agree 

Paul Thurrott:

Also it’s worth pointing out that the future is cloudy, and that my record on prognostication is something like 127 to 3, with me being on the raw end of that score. I’m just not good at predictions.

Needling aside, Thurrott makes a good point regarding the catch-up game Microsoft is playing against Apple in the mobile space: it’s not enough to catch up in terms of the consumer user experience, but they need to catch up with regard to what Apple offers developers, too:

To those who would argue that this is early days and that Microsoft’s documentation can only catch up, I’d say, wake up. When the iPhone debuted three years ago, it was a bolt of lightning in what was then a very immature smart phone world. Three years later, everything has changed, and the market in which Windows Phone will compete is vastly different. In 2010, it is not enough for Microsoft to provide what Apple had in 2007, and this is as true with developer tools and documentation as it is with anything else. Microsoft isn’t competing with the Apple of three years ago.

What we need, then, is not a trickle, but a fire hose. We need what Apple offers iOS developers. That’s the bar.

Twitter: The Criterion Collection, Vol. II 

A second collection of 30-second videos, each based on a tweet by someone else. Very fun. Includes a contribution from yours truly, which you can see by itself in HD here.

‘The Social Network’ 

Clever poster for David Fincher’s upcoming Facebook movie.

‘Login’ Is Not a Verb 

Spoiler: it’s a noun.

‘Using iPad as a …’ 

The broad appeal of the iPad, encapsulated in a Google search suggestion by Mike Solomon.

Rene Ritchie’s iOS 4 Walkthrough 



My thanks to Sourcebits for again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Sourcebits is a contract developer specializing in iPhone, iPad, mobile, Mac, and web software. Their iPhone apps have been downloaded over 4.5 million times from the App Store, and they have a growing list of Android and BlackBerry apps, too. If you’re looking for software development services, check out Sourcebits’s website for examples of their work, such as Night Stand HD, the latest version of their iPad clock featuring six photorealistic designs.

Glenn Fleishman on Apple’s New ‘Find My iPhone’ App 

Yet another reason Apple ought to consider making MobileMe free of charge for iOS users.

O2’s Response to iPhone 4 Shortage 


iPhone stock will be extremely limited in the UK at launch and not everybody who wants one will be able to get one straight away. We want to make sure that our existing customers get priority so until at least the end of July, only existing O2 customers will be able to get an iPhone 4 from us.

Clever way to deal with the shortage — reward loyalty.

The Making of Pixar’s ‘Day & Night’ 

Mind-bending short — wonderful in 3D, and I generally dislike 3D — at the top of Toy Story 3. (And Toy Story 3 is wonderful.) (Via Andy Baio.)

Dale Peterson, My New Favorite Republican 

This is truly one of the best political ads I’ve ever seen.

New MobileMe Web Mail Now Available to All Members 

So now Apple’s web mail has a better UI layout than their desktop app. I really like that three-column iOS-inspired layout. (Also note that you can use the arrows keys to navigate between messages and mailboxes — up/down and left/right — in ways that you can’t in Snow Leopard Mail.)

Update: I know that many other mail programs use three-columns layouts (was Outlook first?); what’s iOS-inspired about the new MobileMe web mail is the style. Helvetica everywhere, minimal chrome, and the four-line-per-message name/subject/body-preview middle column. Compare this new three-column MobileMe mail to Letterbox, a hack for Mac OS X Mail to add a three-column view. Letterbox feels like the existing Mac OS X Mail with a different column layout; MobileMe Mail feels like iPad Mail.

Adobe’s Custom Flash Player Installer Is Inaccessible on Both Mac OS X and Windows 


Last week, Adobe released version 10.1 of their Flash player plugin for both the Mac and Windows operating systems, which included a large number of security fixes. Much to the frustration of visually impaired users, the installer application, which had previously been accessible, was rendered inaccessible with screen readers on both operating systems. This, of course, means that many visually impaired users are stuck using an older version of the plugin, along with all its known vulnerabilities.

Yet there’s a perfectly accessible real installer right inside the crummy shell installer’s package.

Palm: ‘We Don’t Know What the Hold-Up Is’ on Mobile Flash 

Who would have ever thought Adobe would let Palm down this way?

Lakers Beat Celtics for NBA Championship 

I despise the Lakers, so it made me queasy to watch them celebrate a game seven win over the Celtics on their home court. Warm congratulations to all of their rotten fans.

But what struck me the most watching this series, and especially game seven, is what an ugly, ugly game the NBA has devolved into. No beauty and very little strategy offensively from either side. No ball movement, and lots of standing around. Very hard to believe that these are the two best teams in the league. The Lakers shot just 33 percent from the field and yet clearly deserved to win the game. For decades, a game seven in the Finals between the Celtics and Lakers resulted in basketball at its very best. Now, it’s basketball at its worst. Brutal.

Scorsese on Kubrick 

Martin Scorsese:

Like all visionaries, he spoke the truth. And no matter how comfortable we think we are with the truth, it always comes as a profound shock when we’re forced to meet it face-to-face.

(Via Jim Coudal.)

Joe Barton Would Like to Apologize 

“To Brownie, who let’s face it, really was doing a heck of a job.”

John C. Welch on the Actual Installer Inside Adobe’s Flash Player 10.1 ‘Installer’ 

John C. Welch:

If you download Flash, you get the ‘normal’ installer, which has all the silly chrome and the even sillier insistence that you quit browsers, etc. That kind of thing is really annoying, because it makes pushing the update out quite the pain in the keister.

However, if you crack open that installer, (ctrl-click on it and select “Show Package Contents” for the uninitiated), and go into the resources folder, you see a lovely file called “Adobe Flash Player.pkg”. That, dear readers, is a standard Mac OS X installer, that does not start forcing you to quit browsers. It is therefore, because of format and design, quite compatible with any number of IT tools, such as Apple Remote Desktop and others.

Good to know, but why do they bother with the wrapper installer, though? I mean look at this.

Dan Moren on Air Video 

Dan Moren:

InMethod’s Air Video helps eliminate that dilemma by allowing you to stream video over the network from your home computer. No more syncing, no more making sure you erase old videos to free up space, and, best of all, you don’t even have to convert videos into a compatible format.

Flash Player 10.1 Now Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux 

I missed this last week when it was news:

Our Mac engineers, with some help from the Safari team, made significant changes to Flash Player for Macs. Here’s a partial list of the work we completed for Argo. First and foremost, Flash Player 10.1 is a full-fledged Cocoa app (though legacy Carbon support remains for some browsers that require it). We now leverage Cocoa events, use Cocoa UI for our dialogs, leverage Core Audio for sound, Core Graphics for printing support, and use Core Foundation for bundle-style text. […]

The overall performance improvements of Flash Player for Mac users will result in faster video playback, more efficient CPU utilization, and greater battery life.

No idea why they’re using a custom installer, though.

‘Ended on a Brown Note’ 

Speaking of interviews with my friends, Jeremy Fuksa conducted a great interview with Adam Lisagor back at SXSW.

iPhone 4 Confirmed to Have 512 MB of RAM 

That’s twice the amount in the 3GS and the iPad.

‘This Phone Is an Asshole’ 

Jack Shedd:

I’ve noticed an odd tendency in Android device reviews. Their flaws, always major and always awe-inspiring in their insipidness, are inevitably attributed more to the device itself than to the underlying Android operating system. There’s a sense, not just from reviewers, but from fans of the device, that what Android really needs is just killer hardware.

Which is just absolute horse shit.

WWDC 2010 Session Videos Already Available 

At this rate, next year’s videos will be out before I even sober up. Even better: they’re available to all registered Apple developers, not just WWDC attendees, free of charge. (Last year they cost $500 for non-attendees.)

‘The Real Concern to Me Is Five Years From Now. Ten.’ 

Speaking of Paul Kafasis, TMO’s Dave Hamilton has a good interview with him from WWDC last week, ranging from Rogue Amoeba’s history to the future of Mac OS X.

Vuvux and Audio Hijack Pro 

Speaking of the World Cup, Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis has a post explaining how to use Vuvux — a free Mac OS X AudioUnit plugin from Prosoniq — to filter out the vuvuzelas. (Don’t miss the discount code for Audio Hijack Pro at the end.)

N+1: World Cup Preview 

I guess it’s a little late to link to a preview, but I love the way Jeff Blum wrote these short team summaries. (Via Thom Fries.)

Criterion Box Art 

Inspiring design work. (Via Kottke.)

David Pogue Reviews Sprint’s HTC Evo 

Sounds great: the Wi-Fi hotspot drains a full battery charge in an hour, you can’t get a full day of stand-by out of a full charge, it takes six minutes to connect to 4G (if you happen to live in one of the few cities with 4G coverage), and as for video calling:

After two days of fiddling, downloading and uninstalling apps, manually force-quitting programs and waiting for servers to be upgraded, I finally got video calling to work — sort of. Sometimes there was only audio and a black screen, sometimes only a freeze-frame; at best, the video was blocky and the audio delay absurd.

To make video calling work, you have to install an app yourself: either Fring or Qik. But we never did get Fring to work, and Qik requires people you call to press a Talk button when they want to speak. The whole thing is confusing and, to use the technical term, iffy.

Neven Mrgan on the Various Sizes of iOS App Icons 

I’m sure designers working on other platforms worry about such details, too.

Another Wonderful ‘Yes/No’ Dialog Box From Microsoft 

Their Mac apps are part of the fun, too.

First iOS 4 Multitasking-Aware Apps Appearing in App Store 

But just a week ago, Pocket-Lint told us to expect “massive delays” waiting for apps to support these features.

iFixit’s New Mac Mini Teardown 

Kind of amazing how little there is inside.

YouTube Video Editor 

Very Google-y.

Moyer Stymies Yankees 

The winning pitcher for the Phillies in their 6-3 victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium last night? 47-year-old Jamie Moyer, whose fastball tops out around 81 MPH. He’s two years older than Yankees manager Joe Girardi. He pitched a gem.

Full Steve Jobs D8 Interview Now Available for Download on iTunes 

John Paczkowski:

In the weeks ahead, we’ll continue to post full streaming videos of all D8 interviews here at, where they will be available indefinitely. We’re posting two videos per week, and have already published sessions with Steve Jobs, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and director James Cameron on-site.

Brian Ford on Comments 

Brian Ford:

It’s all fairly subjective, but my experience on the one website (Newsvine) where I ever had to deal with a significant number of comments is that, like gardening, successfully moderating comment threads is a ridiculous amount of work and — if you’re not serious about it — you’re going to fail.

Derek Powazek on Comments 

Derek Powazek:

But your right to post to someone else’s site rests with that someone else. This is so painfully obvious, anyone who doesn’t get it must simply have an axe to grind. It’s like assuming you have the right to go inside any house you can see from the street, and pee on the carpet.

I differ from John in one way. I get the sense from his post and his comments elsewhere that he sees no value in comments at all.

Not quite. It’s not that I dislike comments in general, or view them as useless. They can be useless. They can be excellent. I’m continually impressed by the quality of the comment threads on Hacker News, for example. It is true, though, that I seldom read the comments on sites that offer them.

To restate my thinking, it’s not that I haven’t included comments on DF because I dislike the concept of comments; it’s that comments would not fit with what I have in mind for DF as an experience. Same goes for frequent use of images. I certainly don’t think images are “bad”. They just don’t fit with what I have in mind.

Ian Betteridge on Comments 

Ian Betteridge:

And to my perspective, comments preserve a centralised, egotistical model of web publishing that’s entirely against the fundamental principles of a truly distributed web. Rather than encouraging writing responses and linking, they encourage you to reply on the “original” post. As Dave Winer once put it, they convert web pages into something much more like a mailing list.

Matt Drance on the Nokia X5 

Matt Drance:

The X5 is clearly a low-to-midrange model that complements the much more interesting N8, and Nokia has always been a volume player. What’s truly remarkable is the communication: why make such a confused, tainted announcement at your own event?

Indeed, the N8 looks competitive, or at least interesting. One more thing Nokia could learn from Apple: let your high-end phones turn into low-end phones as they get older and obsoleted. That way they’re guaranteed not to distract attention from the new high-end models, and they serve as a stable, known target for third-party developers. What do iOS developers have to do to support Apple’s “new” $99 iPhone? Nothing.

iTunes 9.2 

iOS 4 and iBooks 1.1 compatibility.

More From Doreen Marchionni on Comments 

Doreen Marchionni:

When I talk to editors about my online research on journalism-as-a-conversation, they often ask if that just refers to story comments. It doesn’t. Conversational journalism as scholars, audiences and journalism-reform advocates think about it generally is highly proactive — engaging ordinary citizens on stories before or during the reporting process, for instance, not after a story has run.

BP Chairman Says Firm Cares About ‘The Small People’ 

Stay classy, BP.

Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy-Playing AI 

One step closer to HAL.

Good Question From Charles Ying 

Of course, because “open” always wins.

Another Microsoft ‘Yes/No’ Dialog Box 

It’s like a reading comprehension test.

Update: It’s even worse, because in IE7 the actions for Yes/No were the other way around. (Via David Williams.)

Another Killer Headline Regarding the Nokia X5 

From Rob Beschizza at Boing Boing.

From the WSJ’s Interview With J.K. Shin, Samsung’s Mobile Division President 

WSJ: Do you plan to align with a specific operating system when you launch smartphones?

Mr. Shin: Samsung is the only company that has offered smartphones using a variety of operating systems. That is our strategy. Since the market wants various kinds of mobile platforms, I think it isn’t appropriate to offer only one operating system. We will leave that up to the customers to decide.

What I hear: “We don’t know what to do.”

More Information on Google TV 

The video makes the concept a lot more clear than the announcement at I/O: looks like TiVo with search and a web browser. The wildcard, though, is that there will be native Android apps for it, too. See the consumer FAQ and developer FAQ for more. The developer FAQ includes a bit more information on input devices:

All input devices for Google TV will have QWERTY keyboards, but users will often navigate using a directional pad. Like remote controls, these limit the navigation model to up, down, left, right, and enter.

Speaking of Good Headlines, Here’s One From Paczkowski 

Hard to believe Nokia released that turd of a pink “smartphone” on the same day they issued a warning on its upcoming second quarter financial results.

Robert Reich on Obama’s Oval Office Address Regarding the BP Oil Spill 

Robert Reich:

I’m a fan of Barack Obama. I campaigned for him and I believe in him. I think he has a first-class temperament. I have been deeply moved and startled by his ability to speak about the nation’s most intractable problems. But he failed tonight to rise to the occasion. Is it because he’s not getting good advice, or because he’s psychologically incapable of expressing the moral outrage the nation feels?

Agreed. If this catastrophe isn’t something for Obama to get fired up about — and to get the nation fired up about — what is?

Statement by Apple on iPhone 4 Pre-Orders 


Yesterday Apple and its carrier partners took pre-orders for more than 600,000 of Apple’s new iPhone 4. It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions. Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.

According to AT&T, that’s 10 times higher than the first-day pre-orders for the iPhone 3GS last year.

This is very good news for Android, because Vic Gundotra told us at I/O that Android is ahead of the iPhone in U.S. sales.

My Favorite Article Title in DF History 

I had to hack my Movable Type database to make it work.

Ad Hoc MLB Standings Dashboard Widget 

Tip for baseball fans: the standings page on MLB’s mobile site works great as a Mac OS X Dashboard widget. Go there in Safari, make the window as narrow as it’ll go, and invoke the File → Open in Dashboard command.

Nokia X5 

Great design, Nokia.

Engadget Previews the Upcoming Motorola Droid X 

An interesting divergence: the iPhone 4 has gotten noticeably smaller (both thinner and narrower); the latest batch of top-tier Android phones are getting noticeably larger.

Safari Extensions Gallery Submission 


Safari Developer Program members can submit their Safari extensions to be included in the extensions gallery on the Apple website that will be made available later this summer.

About the Mac OS X v10.6.4 Update 

Decent list of bug fixes.

Joe Wilcox Files Claim Chowder on Himself, Admits He Was Wrong About the iPad 

Joe Wilcox:

Yes, I was wrong. I admit it. Flail me in Betanews comments or other blogs. Surely Macheads will peck away even my bones. Go ahead. I won’t often give you such opportunity.

Sure you will, Joe. You’re wrong all the time.

DragonFire SDK 

Their pitch: write iPhone apps using C and C++ on Windows, using Visual Studio, using Zimusoft’s SDK and their own iPhone Simulator. Then you upload your project to Zimusoft’s servers, where they take the project and compile it using an actual Mac and Xcode. You can then submit the resulting “real” binary to the App Store yourself, or let Zimusoft publish it to the App Store themselves. It’s like a Rube Goldberg machine. (Bonus: the guy in the video calls the iPod Touch “the iTouch”.)

You’ll Never Guess Which Company Wrote This Horrendous Yes/No Confirmation Dialog Box 

Yes/No dialogs are always a bad idea — I’ve never seen one that couldn’t be better-written using different, clearer words for the buttons. Writing is a big part of UI design. My rule of thumb: assume the user won’t read anything other than the buttons. E.g., when you log out of Mac OS X, you get a confirmation dialog with two buttons: “Cancel” and “Log Out”. Crystal clear.

(Thanks to Joe Clark.)

Update: Fireballed. Here it is in Google’s cache.


Trailer for Sophia Coppola’s latest. (Via Coudal.)

MonoPrice HDMI Cables 

Given today’s new Mac Mini, now’s a good time to remind you not to spend a lot of money on HDMI cables. Digital is digital. MonoPrice’s cables are dirt cheap and work great.

Phil Gyford’s ‘Today’s Guardian’ 

Speaking of readable websites, Phil Gyford’s Today’s Guardian is a rather striking example. Be sure to read the About link to get the keyboard shortcuts. See Gyford’s weblog for a full explanation on the thinking behind the design. Impressive.

Marco Arment on iOS Multitasking and Background Updating 

Marco Arment:

I’ve already received multiple emails from people who are excited for iOS 4’s multitasking because they can’t wait for this to finally stop being an issue, because they think Instapaper will be able to download articles periodically in the background.

It’s painful to respond, crushing their hopes, to tell them that the iOS multitasking system doesn’t allow me to do that.

I like his proposal for how Apple could address this in the future.

Benjamin Mayo on iOS 4 Multitasking 

Benjamin Mayo:

In previous versions of iOS, state-saving was the sole responsibility of the developer, but it was possible. The reason it had little use was because it was difficult to implement. It required large rewrites of some codebases, due to the nature of Objective-C classes. Apple has recognized it was an issue, and have responded with a first-party API set to abstract the difficulty to the OS.

Flash Player Update Defaults to Installing McAfee Security Scan Plus 

Charles Arthur reports on the latest chicanery from Adobe. They’re reminding me more and more of Real Networks. (Thanks to DF reader Mehran Khalili.)

Matt Drance on WWDC10 

Spot-on analysis from Matt Drance:

One can’t help but appreciate the irony here. The initial friendship between Apple and Google was surely inspired in part by a common rival in Microsoft. Now the tables have turned, with Apple and Microsoft sharing the stage against Google. The reversal is so severe that a busted Bing demo in a later session drew heavy applause upon finally working. A WWDC audience would not have been so kind to Microsoft in earlier years.

The Steve Whale 

“The Apple Store is over capacity.”

(As for me, I gave up on ordering for home delivery. I used the new Apple Store iPhone app to reserve one for in-store pickup on June 24; whole thing took 30 seconds, because it doesn’t go through AT&T. Wait and see if AT&T doesn’t fuck up activation on June 24 though.)

‘I’m Comic Sans, Asshole.’ 

An imagined monologue by Mike Lacher at McSweeney’s.

Adobes Drops Experimental 64-Bit Flash Player for Linux 

Ryan Paul, reporting for Ars Technica:

“We are fully committed to bringing native 64-bit Flash Player for the desktop by providing native support for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux 64-bit platforms in an upcoming major release of Flash Player,” the company wrote. “We intend to provide more regular update information on our progress as we continue our work on 64-bit versions of Flash Player.”

Don’t hold your breath. (Flash Player for Mac OS X remains 32-bit as well, despite the fact that most of the system is now 64-bit.) Anyway, as for Linux, I thought Adobe loved open systems. What happened?

iPhone 4 Goes on Pre-Sale, Purportedly 

The order form is up, and some people have succeeded in getting an order through, but AT&T’s account information servers are — shockingly! — crapped out, so those of us looking to upgrade with an existing AT&T account are shit out of luck at the moment. Pathetic.

Also, the white iPhone 4 is “currently unavailable for pre-order or in-store pickup”.

Apple Releases All New Mac Mini 

Sleeker form factor, and now includes a built-in SD card slot and — sweet — an HDMI port.

The Apple Store App 

Both for shopping online and for managing your retail store experience.

No, Safari Reader Is Not the Beginning of an ‘Arms Race’ 

Jim Lynch:

Apple, by adding Reader to Safari 5, is essentially trying to force an ebook style interface onto the web reading experience. It will never work out over the long haul because web publishers will resist and the end result will be an arms race, with publishers on one side and Apple on the other.

This guy Lynch’s website is exactly the sort of design turd that makes people want to use Safari Reader. Flash ads, half a dozen Google text ads, 10 “social media” dinguses, a side bar full of polls, sub-tabs, “related posts”, and more. And, to top it off, it’s split across three “pages”, with a measly 400 words per page.

Safari Reader doesn’t kick in by default. It’s invoked by the user. Apple isn’t telling Jim Lynch his site is ugly and hard to read. His readers are. If your website is user-hostile, don’t be surprised when your readers fight back.

Update: Shockingly — shockingly, I tell you — Lynch’s site uses Tynt.

‘These People Say’ 

Stuart Weinberg and Phred Dvorak, reporting for the WSJ (italics added):

RIM is testing a touch-screen smartphone with a slide-out keyboard, according to people familiar with the device. The phone runs on a new version of the BlackBerry operating system and works much like an iPhone, letting users swipe through screens and expand images with their fingers, these people say. It also has a universal search bar that lets users scour all the phone’s data and some data online as well, these people say.

RIM is also experimenting with a tablet device to serve as a larger-screen companion to its BlackBerry phone, say people familiar with RIM’s plans. That device, which is in an early stage of development, will connect to cellular networks via a BlackBerry phone, these people say. It could come out as soon as the end of the year, these people say.

Did Rupert Murdoch fire more copy editors? And isn’t this months-old news?

Making a Responsive, Fast iPad HTML5 App 

Thomas Fuchs on how he and Amy Hoy made this nifty timezone web app for the iPad.

AT&T Explains iPad Privacy Breach 

And Escher Auernheimer of Goatse Security responds.

Donate to the TEDxOilSpill Expedition 

Duncan Davidson and a small team of other photographers are in the Gulf to document what’s going on:

Finally, we’re going to the Gulf to be a witness. No crime this large against the environment, the economy of the Gulf states, the people who live there, and the life that inhabits the water, can have too many witnesses. We’re going to bring our first hand account to the TEDxOilSpill event and to you.

They’re soliciting donations to fund the endeavor. Count me in.

Dustin Curtis on the Retina Display 

Dustin Curtis:

Because OS X is built from the ground up to be resolution independent, all the default iOS interface elements are already vectorized graphics (PDFs, to be specific). This means that when iOS scales the elements in physical size to fit the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 screen, they take up the same amount of space as the elements drawn on the iPhone 3GS but they use four times the number of pixels.

In theory, you could create an app specifically for the iPhone 4 that increases the information density of the display by putting more (smaller) elements on screen. But the right way to do it is to design with the same information density, and render all elements with double the resolution.

(Curtis is wrong about PDFs/vector graphics being used for most UI elements. They’re usually highly optimized PNGs. iPhone 4-optimized apps will include double-size versions alongside the originals. But the main point of his piece stands.)

News Corporation Acquires Skiff, LLC 

Good luck with that.

iMovie for iPhone Details 

Jeff Carlson reports:

iMovie for iPhone will require the iPhone 4, and will not be available for the iPhone 3GS. Handling video and creating real-time transitions needs the power of the iPhone 4’s A4 processor.

Starbucks to Offer Free Wi-Fi at All U.S. Stores 

Frank James, reporting for NPR:

But wait, there’s more. Starbucks is teaming up with Yahoo to offer something called Starbucks Digital Network which will give the chain’s customers free access to some paid web sites, like

Cameron Moll Reviews the DODOcase for iPad 

I saw one in person last week at WWDC; I don’t think I’d like it, personally, but it’s very nice.

Drew Thaler’s JavaScript Blacklist Safari Extension 

Drew Thaler:

JavaScript Blacklist is a simple extension for Safari 5 which blacklists scripts from a configurable list of domains. If a common “utility” script used by sites that you visit is annoying you, this will let you opt out quickly and easily.

Included in the defaults: Tynt and Intellitxt (the jerks behind those green double-underlined keyword links). Thus, this obviates the Tynt-specific blocker I linked to over the weekend.

Wally Backman Gets Thrown Out of a Baseball Game 

An inspiration to coaches everywhere. (Put your headphones on if you’re at work.)

Update: YouTube has taken down the original clip, but you can still see it here.


My thanks to Orbicule for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Undercover, their amazing theft-recovery software for the Mac. If your Mac is stolen or lost, Undercover transmits the machine’s location, screenshots, and iSight pictures to the owner. They report an 86 percent recovery rate, and have a slew of recovery stories from happy Undercover users.

Undercover is available for $49 (no yearly fees), with discounts for households and students. Check out the screencasts on the Orbicule website to see how it works. And, a mobile version of Undercover for iPhone and iPad is available as well.

The Vanderbilt Republic Is Recruiting a CTO 

My friends at the Vanderbilt Republic:

You know coding languages we haven’t heard of and have already recognized the potential we see in tomorrow’s content delivery systems. You bring serious experience to the table, you’ll never be done learning, and you will immediately know how to improve all our existing frameworks. You know that design is more than just a coat of paint.

This is a great opportunity to create beautiful, high-profile work.

Resolving the iPhone 4 Resolution 

Phil Plait on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display:

This prompted the Wired article editors to give it the headline “iPhone 4’s ‘Retina’ Display Claims Are False Marketing”. As it happens, I know a thing or two about resolution as well, having spent a few years calibrating a camera on board Hubble. Having looked this over, I disagree with the Wired headline strongly, and mildly disagree with Soneira. Here’s why.

The Economist on Anti-Distraction Software 

The Economist:

Software that disables bits of your computer to make you more productive sounds daft, but may help keep distractions at bay.

I’ve never tried any of these things because, yes, they sound daft. But I’m intrigued.

Tynt-Blocker Safari Extension 

Nice little piece of work by Brad Dougherty. Works perfectly for me: just install it and Tynt’s clipboard jiggery-pokery stops working. (Get the 1.1 update if you started with 1.0.)

Photos of a Mexican Drug Lord’s Home After a Police Raid 

I guess it is a cash business.

FBI Opens Probe of AT&T iPad Customer Email Address Breach 

The WSJ:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation into a possible security breach of AT&T Inc.’s website that exposed the email addresses of some owners of Apple Inc. iPad devices. […]

A small group of computer experts that calls itself Goatse Security said it discovered the flaw, explaining that it was able to find the email addresses by guessing numbers that identify iPads connected to AT&T’s mobile network.

The Wall Street Journal said “Goatse”.

The Antitrust Implications of Apple’s Mobile Ad Policies 

Dan Frommer, summarizing a report by analysts Rebecca Arbogast and George Askew:

The analysts’ preliminary view is that it is unlikely the DOJ/FTC will bring an antitrust suit against Apple. But, Apple is walking a fine line, and will be increasingly scrutinized by the government. Each time provides additional risk for regulation.

Matt Drance on Apple’s Updated Section 3.3.2 Terms on Interpreted Code 

Matt Drance:

While explicit approval from Apple is still required, these new terms seem to acknowledge that there’s a difference between an app that happens to have non-compiled code, and a meta-platform. It’s a step that should allow for many new possibilities.

This hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as Apple’s change to the advertising analytics guidelines, but it might be just as big a deal. In addition to allowing the use of scripting engines in games — many of which are already in the store, in apparent contradiction to the previous blanket ban on interpreted code — I’m pretty sure this is going allow some apps that had previously been rejected to be published.

David Barnard on the Apple/Google Mobile Ad Feud 

Really smart take from David Barnard:

When you use Google search and other Google products, they collect a tremendous amount of information and use that information to customize and better serve the ads that are the core of their business.  Many users don’t even realize this is happening, others are comfortable with it and have some level of trust for Google’s intent in using that data.

Well, Apple doesn’t trust the benevolence of Google, developers, and other third parties involved in the iOS platform.  Apple wants to control the flow of user information.


The thing is, Apple is a hardware company, that’s where they have and will continue to make their money. Google, Facebook, and others trade in information. The more detailed and specific, the more valuable that information. For Apple, the better the overall experience of the device, the more valuable that device becomes. They can throttle ad targeting and the specificity of 3rd party analytics according to the taste of users. Trusting 3rd parties to do so would be incredibly foolish, and Apple seems to have just recently figured that out.

Adobe Predicts 250 Million Flash-Enabled Smartphones by End of 2012 


Adobe Systems Inc on Wednesday said it sees its popular Flash Player on more than 250 million smartphones by the end of 2012 despite Apple Inc’s ban on developers from using the popular multimedia software on its iPhone.

250 million by 2012 is a big, big number.

Eliot Van Buskirk on the Apple/Google Mobile Ad Feud 

Great piece by Eliot Van Buskirk:

This leaves Google out in the cold, and seems to strike a big blow against competition in the mobile ad space. It also smacks of payback, because Google swooped in to buy AdMob when Apple was just about to purchase it.

But think about the alternative. If Apple allows Google to track user data within ads, Google can see how people interact with advertising elements within iOS apps. And it would be able to use that information to inform the process of building AdMob ads into its own Android platform.

There’s a growing consensus here at WWDC that this is a big part of the reasoning behind Apple’s stiff-arm to Google. The terms don’t block Google from serving mobile ads in iOS, they just block Google from collecting analytics, and but so Google is effectively blocked from selling mobile ads on iOS because their whole ad system is all about analytics. They don’t do brand advertising.

There’s also no reason to put it in the future tense, that Google “would be able to use that information to inform the process of building AdMob ads into its own Android platform.” Does anyone believe that Google isn’t doing this already?

Samsung Jabs iPhone’s Retina Display, Says AMOLED Wins 


Samsung joined in the attacks on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display with a retort in the Korean media. A spokesperson for Samsung argued that quadrupling the resolution actually had little impact on clarity, at most three to five percent, and that that it would allegedly hike the battery drain by as much as 30 percent. AMOLED is purportedly better as it doesn’t need a backlight and makes up for any resolution loss in other ways, such as higher contrast with true black, more accurate colors and no limits on viewing angles.

They can say this now, but they won’t be able to say such things and be taken seriously after the iPhone 4 is released and people have seen it in person. Until they figure out a way to make AMOLED visible in daylight, they’re not even in the game.

Christopher Mims on Instapaper’s Ad-Stripping Effect 

Man, I love me some Instapaper.

The Washington Post on iPads Within the White House 

Michael D. Shear:

The folks who gather early every morning in the West Wing office of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have something new in common these days. Practically everyone has an iPad — or will have one very soon.

Derek Powazek on Safari’s Use of Justified Text in Reader 

Derek Powazek:

Flush-left text (aka ragged-right) is demonstrably more readable, especially when the rendering engine doesn’t know how to hyphenate.

There’s a reason why most page layout programs considered “Hyphenation and Justification” to be two aspects of the same feature. I strongly agree that you should never use justification without good hyphenation — let alone without any hyphenation at all.

2010 Apple Design Award Winners 

Great picks.

Creator of WebOS Notifications Leaves for Apple 

Dieter Bohn:

The man who “Invented the non-intrusive banner notification system used in webOS” and also did all sorts of other work for the OS, Rich Dellinger, is leaving Palm to return to his earlier employer, Apple, as a Senior User Interface Designer.

I wouldn’t read into this with any assumption that he’ll be working on adding a similar notification system to iOS, but who knows?

Nik Fletcher: ‘On This Safari 5 Reader Hysteria’ 

Nik Fletcher:

Perhaps instead of flamebait posts of ‘Apple are out to get us’ media companies should be asking themselves ‘how did reading content online become so sucky’?

Catch Up 

Louis Gray:

The introduction of multi-tasking and a front-facing camera both are catch up features to the latest Android models, including the aforementioned EVO.

The existence of a front-facing camera may fairly be considered a “catch up” feature on iPhone 4. But the ability to use the front-facing camera to actually make video calls is first on the iPhone. That’s one difference between Apple and HTC. Apple isn’t going to include a hardware feature just for the sake of having it. They only include hardware for which they have compelling software to complete the experience.

MG Siegler on iPhone 4 

MG Siegler:

The Mac vs. PC debate has often found people using a car analogy to explain things. I keep coming back to that when thinking about iPhone vs. Android. For a long time, iPhone felt like a Lexus while Android was more like a Kia. With recent upgrades, Android has transformed into more of a Honda. But with iPhone 4, the iPhone is now an Aston Martin […].

But the crazy thing is that the iPhone is an Aston Martin with a Honda-price. Meanwhile, Android remains a Honda at a Honda-price — it’s a good deal, but it’s not an iPhone-deal.

John Battelle on Apple’s Banning Google From iOS App Ads 

John Battelle:

I think this is shortsighted and wrong. I also think it’s classic Apple. It’s a rerun of the Us vs. The World mentality that forced the Mac into a corner back in the late 1980s. This time, Google plays the role of Microsoft, but it really doesn’t matter. Apple won’t let anyone play in their iWorld who might pose a competitive threat.

Bullshit. Google started this. It was Google that turned its sights on the iPhone. If AdMob had remained independent, they could still sell in-app ads on iOS. If AdMob had sold itself to Apple instead of Google, they could still sell in-app ads on iOS. If Google hadn’t declared war against the iPhone, AdMob could still see in-app ads on iOS. They made their bed, now they have to sleep in it.

There’s no question it’s a dick move on Apple’s part. But what’s the argument against it? That Google gets a pass for being dicks to Apple, and Apple ought to just sit there and take it?

AdMob Responds 

AdMob founder Omar:

Let’s be clear. This change is not in the best interests of users or developers. In the history of technology and innovation, it’s clear that competition delivers the best outcome. Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress.

Cry me a river. This is competition.

Apple Revises Mobile Ad Policy; Bars AdMob 

The gist of the updated policy: third-party in-app ad networks are OK, except for Google.

HTML5 vs. Newton 

Grant Hutchinson:

This series of screenshots shows Apple’s questionably named HTML5 and web standards showcase pages displayed on a Newton MessagePad 2100.

I love it.

Marco Tabini on Safari Extensions 

Seems like a really well-done system, but no one knows much about how Apple’s upcoming extension gallery is going to work.

An Android User’s Take on Yesterday’s iPhone News 

Interesting piece from Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch:

I don’t mean to say I found the iPhone 4 to be disappointing — it will be incredibly successful, and many of my friends are champing at the bit to get one. But I expected to walk out of San Francisco’s Moscone Center yesterday longing for the next iPhone despite my current allegiance to Android. That didn’t happen.

One thing that I’ve been thinking about today is that yesterday’s announcements really showed how different Apple’s priorities are from Google’s. What Apple has focused on is making the iPhone feel and look better. It’s about how it feels in your hand, about how amazing the new Retina Display looks. It’s about even better battery life.

People who prefer Android over the iPhone value different things. I’ll bet Android users were more likely to expect that Apple would announce a new UI for notifications, for example. I think Apple probably will create a richer UI for notifications in iOS at some point — but their immediate priorities lie elsewhere.

Put another way, I think there are Android users like Kincaid who hoped to see Apple play catch-up to Android in certain areas, but I don’t think Apple sees any areas where they need to make iOS more Android-like at all.

Thomas Hawk on Lightroom 3.0 

Thomas Hawk:

Quite simply Lightroom 3 represents the single most significant advancement in photographic noise reduction I’ve ever seen. I’m blown away. Thousands of photos that were previously unworkable for me, now have suddenly become available to process. High iso low light shots with tons of noise can be salvaged, saved and turned into beautiful images. What’s more, pushed to it’s extremes, this new noise reduction technology gives photographs an almost painterly quality, allowing new potential for artistic representation of photographs.

His examples are truly amazing. I love Lightroom so much.

Pulse Back in the App Store 

MG Siegler:

Pulse has already made a triumphant return to the store, their Twitter account confirms. So what happened? Did Jobs himself step into the fray and get the NYT to ease up? […] When asked how the app returned so quickly, co-creator Akshay Kothari wrote back: “We’re trying to figure that out ourselves. Keep you posted.”

Safari Extensions 

Some very cool stuff already. Not bad for a day.

Khoi Vinh on Apple’s Typographical Shortcomings 

Khoi Vinh:

Creating a beautiful display and patting yourself on the back for having good typography is disingenuous, I think. It’s a little like saying a high-definition television set makes for better television shows; an absurd claim at best.

U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe 

Kevin Paulsen and Kim Zitter:

Manning had access to two classified networks from two separate secured laptops: SIPRNET, the Secret-level network used by the Department of Defense and the State Department, and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System which serves both agencies at the Top Secret/SCI level.

The networks, he said, were both “air gapped” from unclassified networks, but the environment at the base made it easy to smuggle data out. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’ erase the music then write a compressed split file,” he wrote. “No one suspected a thing and, odds are, they never will.”

New York Times Gets Pulse Removed From App Store 

Very weird: the Times objected to a feed reader — which had just been mentioned by Jobs during the keynote as an example of a great iPad app — including the Times’s RSS feeds in its default subscriptions.

It must have been a mistake on the part of a Times lawyer, though, because the app is back in the store already.

The End of ‘:hover’ 

Andy Croll:

I know that I’ll certainly be considering ‘tap to toggle’ as a user interface choice ahead of hover in the future. The iPhone-ification of interaction online continues.

Gina Trapani on Apple’s Advertising 

Gina Trapani:

That’s the thing about Apple marketing. They don’t talk about how many gigabytes of memory or how many CPU cycles or how many apps (much). They aim for your heart, and show you how technology can make your life better during its most important moments.

Fortune Rounds Up the Analysts’ Takes on iPhone 4 

Thomas Weisel’s Doug Reid: Overall iPhone 4 meets but does not exceed our expectations for the device going into the event.

Doug Reid is the same genius who, back on January 28, thought Apple would sell only 1.1 million iPads this year.

Coda Notes 

My favorite demo from the Safari State of the Union. Fun and clever.

Apple’s iPhone 4 Design Page 

The video is worth watching.


Huge hit in the hands-on press area. Really easy, very compelling. Interesting too, that they’re going to publish the protocol.

2010 Ars Design Awards 

Pretty good list.

Adam Lisagor on the iPad, Apple TV, and Video for Your Chest 

Adam Lisagor:

It could even be that the Apple TV is the lynchpin of the whole operation, the way that iTunes started as a “hobby” that organized our music collection, and revealed itself to be a hub upon which more than one industry was redefined.

‘He Likes His Juice Boxes Shaken, Not stirred’ 

The Macalope on Rob “Corporate CIA” Enderle.

John Wooden Dies at Age 99 

Brilliant and wise; arguably the most successful coach in sports history, by any measure of the word.

Christopher Blizzard on ‘HTML5’ 

Good piece from Christopher Blizzard on why it’s a mistake for Apple to emphasize the “HTML5” brand for Safari-specific demos.

Tynt, Translated: ‘We Respect Your Privacy by Tracking Where You Copy and Paste Text’ 

Dayton Foster, COO of Tynt, the copy/paste jerks:

Here at Tynt, we take privacy very seriously and have developed our service to provide valuable information to website owners without sacrificing the privacy of their visitors.   Accordingly, our  Tynt Insight service does NOT follow people or track their online behavior, the ONLY information captured is the specific content that gets copy/pasted, period.

And then:

And we’re learning more about how people want to share information, which ultimately should lead to additional services that make  browsing and content sharing even easier.   One thing we’ve learned is that most content is being shared by email, Facebook, blog posts, and other services, where frequently a link to the source will be useful to the reader.  See our blog post on that here.

So “the ONLY information captured is the specific content that gets copy/pasted, period”, but they know which Facebook updates, email messages, blog posts, and tweets people are pasting Tynt-tainted text into. OK.

Moscone West, Decorated for WWDC 2010 

Photos by Adam Jackson.

One More Link Regarding Apple’s ‘HTML5’ Demo Gallery 

It just occurred to me what Apple should have called these demos: “Look at the Cool Shit You Can Make Without Flash”.

Anyway, I agree with most of what Scott Gilbertson writes here, but not this:

Naturally, everything works without issue in Chromium, because it uses the same WebKit rendering engine as Safari. Apple is being disingenuous by making its browser seem more compelling than others.

Chrome does render most of Apple’s examples (as you can see visiting this URL using it), but it doesn’t render all of them. Google’s branch of WebKit does not support all of the 3D transform features that Apple’s does.

Brandon Walkin’s Xcode UI Suggestions 

Some clever ideas regarding auto-completion and inline documentation.

Deagol: iPad Web Usage Passes iPod Touch 

If you believe Net Market Share’s numbers, the iPad has surpassed both the iPod Touch and all Android devices combined in web traffic.

Gizmodo Denied Press Passes for WWDC Keynote 

Brian Lam:

It’s no surprise: Apple has not responded to our requests to attend the WWDC keynote on Monday at 10am PST. But we’ll still cover the news. Want to help?

WWDC attendees, be warned: guard your conference badges Sunday night if you’re at a bar.

(If Gizmodo’s editors were smart, they’d have purchased WWDC conference badges if they wanted to attend the keynote. But of course, that’s a big “if”.)

Getting Out While the Going Is Good 

Matthew Yglesias offers another explanation for Microsoft’s stock price stagnation under Ballmer: that Gates left when he was out of ideas, and Microsoft wouldn’t have fared better this decade if he’d stayed on the job. It’s also the case that the entire stock market was booming in the ’90s and wasn’t in the ’00s.

But whether Gates would have done a better job than Ballmer is a different question than whether Ballmer has done a good job. Apple’s growth this past decade can largely be accounted for with two words: iPod and iPhone. Microsoft wanted in on both those markets, and got smoked. That’s on Ballmer.

How to Take a Screenshot 

“That’s it!”

1Password and Knox 

My thanks to Agile Web Solutions for sponsoring the DF RSS feed this week to promote 1Password and Knox. 1Password is their terrific, clever tool for password management, with clients for Mac, Windows, iPhone, and iPad. Knox is a great file encryption utility for the Mac, with convenient features like Spotlight support.

Here’s the best part: use this link and you’ll save 50 percent off all Agile’s software.

Steven Berlin Johnson on Where Apple Went Wrong in the ’80s 

Steven Berlin Johnson:

I’m sure somewhere in Jobs’ head he thinks that if he had been running Apple instead of John Sculley, the Mac could have out-innovated and out-marketed Microsoft through the late eighties and early nineties, and kept Windows from dominating the planet. In other words, it wasn’t that Apple erred in following the closed platform strategy. They erred in that they had the wrong guy running the company.

Miguel De Icaza’s First iPhone Web App 

If you want a non-joke example, try Brainium Studios’ web app demo of Hand of Greed their new iPhone game.

‘I Wish Microsoft Had Their Evil Genius Back’ 

David Heinemeier Hansson on Steve Ballmer:

Jobs is lucid and reasoned. Ballmer is… Hell, I don’t even know how to describe it. He’s all over the place. No clear definitions, just randomly running his mouth. Compared to Jobs, I think it’s charitable to call him pathetic.

His chart comparing Microsoft’s stock price under Bill Gates vs. Ballmer is devastating. How much longer can Ballmer last? Is the problem that Gates doesn’t want to return? That Gates doesn’t want to concede that it was a terrible error to hand the company to Ballmer? That he doesn’t want to fire his friend?

DF Criticism and Meta-Criticism Thread on Hacker News 

Some insightful comments responding to Hank Williams’s example-free argument that I’ve “jumped the shark”.

Feature-Sniffing Rather Than Browser-Sniffing 

I’ve linked to Modernizr before, but it’s worth a re-link in light of Apple’s Safari-only “HTML5” demos. Rather than sniffing for specific browsers, they’d have been better served sniffing for specific browser features on a per-demo basis. I don’t have a problem with the fact that some of their demos take advantage of Safari-only features — why not show off Safari’s leading edge capabilities? But it’s wrong that a site promoting “standards” blocks browsers that are capable of rendering certain of the demos.

I.e., instead of “Use Safari to view these demos”, the site could serve as a “Safari can render all of these demos, see which ones work in your browser” example.

See also: “Mark Pilgrim’s All-in-One Almost Alphabetical No-Bullshit Guide to Detecting Everything”.

‘HTML5 Showcase’, or ‘Safari Showcase’? 

Haavard at Opera:

Apple claim to promote HTML5 and an open Web, but the page uses browser sniffing to block other browsers, vendor prefixes for the CSS3 stuff they are using (even if other browsers support border-radius it won’t work because it’s coded using -webkit-border-radius), and the patent-encumbered H.264 for video.

Can Opera do equivalent things? Is the problem that Apple has written Safari-specific demos, or is it that Apple is showing off things only Safari can do? There’s a big difference.

Update: If you go to instead of, you can use Chrome to try the demos. Some work, but the 3D ones don’t. It still browser-sniffs to block other browsers. If you diddle with the current version of Firefox to masquerade its user agent string as Safari, two of the demos work: “Audio” and “360°”.

Apple: HTML5 

New section of Apple’s website devoted to cutting edge HTML5 techniques and examples:

Standards aren’t add-ons to the web. They are the web.

DoubleTwist Media Player for Android 

So much better looking than the default Android media player it isn’t even funny. Free download from the Android Market.

Tom Reestman on Sideloading Native iPhone Apps 

Tom Reestman:

Can’t get your app on the iPhone? Write a web app. Oh, but then you wouldn’t get all the benefits of the App Store. Guess what? You won’t get those benefits from “open” apps, either. Which means many complaints about web apps will become the complaints about “open” apps. It won’t shut up the critics, it’ll likely make them louder.

Neven Mrgan on Web Apps 

Neven Mrgan:

What’s becoming an itch, however, is the lack of a serious, native-like SDK for development of webapps.

Adobe CS5’s Non-Standard Indeterminate Wait Cursor 

A lot of Adobe’s Mac UI decisions are the UI equivalent of speaking English as a second language. You can see the logic behind the thinking, but the result is utterly weird and wrong to a native speaker.

Michael Tsai on Apple and App Store Perception 

Michael Tsai:

Much of the controversy over the App Store is due to Apple not sticking with the rules that it laid down. The developer agreement doesn’t forbid having a better mail app, better voice mail, or a better photo frame, and yet Apple found reasons to block them. It’s unfortunate that Mossberg and Swisher let Jobs spin so much. Why have a live interview if you won’t follow up to make sure that your questions are answered?

Tips and Tricks to Extending the HTC EVO 4G and Incredible’s Battery Life 

Sounds like fun.

Apple’s Web Apps Directory 

They’ve had this since before the App Store, if I recall correctly. They can do better than this, though. There’s also their listing of major brand websites “ready for iPad”.

Eric Meyer on the Potential of Mobile Web Apps 

Eric Meyer:

But let’s assume that you’re personally invested in the iPhone/iPad ecosystem and can’t for some reason avoid or leave it. In that case, you’re stuck with that one single store, the App Store.

Except that’s only true because until now, nobody has launched an alternate store that offers web stack applications (WSAs). Maybe that’s because nobody is really building WSAs yet, at least not in numbers large enough to justify building a store to sell them. But then, maybe developers aren’t building WSAs because there’s no central place to sell them.

One thing to keep in mind: the iPhone has better support for mobile web apps than any other system, Android included. This was true when the iPhone debuted — and mobile web apps were the one and only way for third-party developers to write apps for it — and remains true today.

Court Begins Examining Jason Chen’s Computers 

Greg Sandoval and Declan McCullaugh:

Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, told CNET on Wednesday that a court there had appointed a “special master” to search the items seized from the home of Jason Chen in late April. The court has asked the special master to collect only information that pertains to Gizmodo’s dealings with an iPhone prototype that the blog purchased for $5,000.

Birds Caught in the Oil From BP’s Spill 

Distressing pictures.

Andy Ihnatko Reviews HTC’s Droid Incredible and Sprint EVO 4G 

He likes both phones, HTC’s proprietary Sense UI, and the EVO’s physically larger 4.3-inch display. He couldn’t see the Incredible display in sunlight, and dings the EVO for terrible battery life.

Commissioner Bud Selig Refuses to Reverse Blown Call 

What a dick.

Giant Sinkhole in Guatemala 


‘10 Reasons Not to Buy Apple’s New iPhone 4G’ 

Matt Warman wins the race as the first major technology writer to trash the unreleased next-generation iPhone, sight unseen. Unsurprisingly, (by my count) nine of his ten reasons are factually wrong.

NYT to Host Political Polling Site FiveThirtyEight 

Brian Seltzer:

The New York Times said Thursday that it would begin hosting the popular blog FiveThirtyEight and make its founder, Nate Silver, a regular contributor to the newspaper and the Sunday magazine.

Mr. Silver, a statistical wizard, became a media star during the last presidential election season for his political projections based on dissections of polling data. He retains all rights to FiveThirtyEight and will continue to run it himself, but “under the banner and auspices of,” The Times said in a news release.

Leroy Stick, the Man Behind BPGlobalPR 

Leroy Stick:

One pickledick actually suggested that BP approach me and try to incorporate me into their actual PR outreach.  That has got to be the dumbest, most head-up-the-ass solution anyone could possibly offer.

Do you want to know what BP should do about me?  Do you want to know what their PR strategy should be? They should fire everyone in their joke of a PR department, starting with all-star Anne Womack-Kolto and focus on actually fixing the problems at hand. Honestly, Cheney’s publicist? That’s too easy.

Another Cheap Ad Hoc iPad Stand 

Seems like it’d be quite a bit sturdier than the aforelinked business card holder. (Thanks to DF reader John Whalen.)

Chris Clark Wants a Services Menu for iPhone OS 

A thousand times yes.

Rob Rhyne on Briefs’s Rejection From the App Store 

Briefs is an ingenious tool for creating interactive prototypes of iPhone apps. Rob Rhyne introduced it at last year’s C4 conference, and it blew a bunch of us away. It’s a great idea, well-done, and it very much complies with the letter (and, I think, the spirit) of Apple’s App Store guidelines. To wit: the interactivity is, as stipulated by section 3.3.2 of the developer’s agreement, “interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).” You cannot use Briefs to create or distribute actual apps, only mockups of apps.

Alas, Briefs was rejected. Rhyne suspects it is a misunderstanding — that the App Store reviewers, upon seeing what Briefs does, assumed it contains its own interpreter or otherwise executes arbitrary downloaded code. It does not. This one truly deserves reconsideration, Apple.

Learn more about Briefs at the spiffy website Rhyne created for it.

The $0.69 iPad Stand 

This business card holder from Office Depot.

The WebOS App Market 

Brian X. Chen:

“I made some of the crappiest apps for the Pre, and Palm is giving me $1,000 for each,” software programmer Pete Ma (right) bragged to last week during a developer conference, adding that each of his five apps took less than an hour to code.

Ars Looks Back at the BeOS File System 

Feel free to skip to the interviews on the third page.

Technologizer’s iPad Satisfaction Survey 

Took me about two minutes to fill it out.

This Is How You Admit a Mistake 

Umpire Jim Joyce, speaking to the press on his blown call in last night’s should-be perfect game by Armando Galarraga. No hemming, no hawing, no excuses. He admits he was wrong. (Via Keith Olbermann, who’s calling for commissioner Bud Selig to overturn the result of the call.)

Google to Add Picture Backgrounds to Search Home Page 

Marissa Mayer:

Today, we’re introducing a new feature that brings a whole new level of personalization to Google by letting you add a favorite photo or image to the background of the Google homepage.

Step-by-step instructions to get it to work today:

  1. Go to
  2. You’re done.
Bullshit From AT&T VP on New Tethering Charge 

GigaOM interview with Mark Collins, AT&T senior VP of data and voice products:

GigaOM: What about the $20 tethering fee? It looks like a convenience charge.

Collins: That capability is enabling something you can’t do today. You can use one device and get multiple connections so it’s more useful to you. You’re going to use more data so the price is based on the value that will be delivered.

(Emphasis added.) This would be true if the data plan were still “unlimited”, but it’s not. You’re already paying for a capped amount of bandwidth — 2 GB — and what you consume via tethering counts toward that cap. You’re using the same amount of data but in a different way. And if you go over your cap, you’ll be charged the $10 overage fee for each additional gigabyte. There is no excuse for this $20 tethering charge other than greed.

Answers From AT&T on the New iPhone Data Plans 

Good look at the details of the changes from Erica Sadun at TUAW.

Blown Call Ruins Armando Galarraga’s Perfect Game 

Two outs in the ninth inning of a perfect game by Armando Galarraga, and first base umpire Jim Joyce blows the call on what should have been the final out of a perfect game. For a perfect game I say you give the pitcher the call on a truly close play, but this wasn’t even close — the runner was out by a full step. A travesty.

HP CEO Mark Hurd: ‘We Didn’t Buy Palm to Be in the Smartphone Business’ 

Uh, what?

Jackass of the Week: AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson 

iPhone customer sends two emails in two weeks to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson; gets phone call from AT&T’s Executive Response Team and “a warning that further emails will result in a cease and desist letter”.

Analytics and Unannounced Products 

Matt Drance on Steve Jobs’s D8 comments regarding detailed app analytics and privacy.

Walled Gardens 

Neven Mrgan:

I’m assuming we’re supposed to compare this approach to the freer alternatives such as community gardens and city parks. Ignoring for a moment the fact that these gardens are also regulated by serious restrictions on what one can and can’t do, it still puzzles me that the “walled garden” is presented as an obviously undesirable structure.

Jason Snell on Jobs’s D8 Appearance 

Good summary

Why Obama Should Put BP Under Temporary Receivership 

Robert Reich:

It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped.

How to Check Your AT&T Data Usage 

Great tip from Jeff Gamet.

Wired’s iPad App: Pictures of Text 

Joe Clark on the severe shortcomings of Adobe’s “digital viewer technology”, as presented in the Wired magazine iPad app:

There’s no live text, meaning there’s no search. It also means there’s no accessibility on the first computers that are accessible by default if you the developer do no extra work at all. (Follow the spec exactly and your app is accessible right away.) Think of how much effort it takes to blow an opportunity like that.

No copy and paste, either.

Smokescreen — Pure JavaScript/HTML Flash Player 

Kind of amazing — a Flash player written in JavaScript by Chris Smoak. Here’s Simon Willison’s description:

It runs entirely in the browser, reads in SWF binaries, unzips them (in native JS), extracts images and embedded audio and turns them in to base64 encoded data:uris, then stitches the vector graphics back together as animated SVG.

BP’s Dismal Safety Record 

ABC News:

BP’s safety violations far outstrip its fellow oil companies. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the last three years, BP refineries in Ohio and Texas have accounted for 97 percent of the “egregious, willful” violations handed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Steve Jobs Introduces the Death Star 


Objective-C Moves Into Top 10 of Tiobe Programming Language Index 

Up from #39 one year ago.

Sarah Palin, Punctuator Extraordinaire, Blames Environmentalists for BP Oil Spill 

This, from the woman who just two months ago called for the Obama administration to allow for more offshore drilling and loosen environment regulations. “drill,baby,drill” indeed. (Via TPM.)

BPGlobalPR Billboards 

“Some of BPGlobalPR’s tweets, in billboard format.”

Google Chrome for Mac Disregards Accessibility 

Yet another way that Chrome for Mac fails to support important Mac OS X technologies:

Despite being built on the open source WebKit HTML rendering engine, which itself provides accessibility support for the Mac OS X platform with VoiceOver, Google’s final release provides no accessibility to web content whatsoever. Indeed, apart from menus and a handful of standard controls, Google has apparently not given any consideration to accessibility in Chrome.

(Thanks to Joe Clark.)

Nice Report From Monocle on The Impossible Project 

The company that brought back Polaroid instant film.

‘Not Going to Let It Slide’ 

Jim Dalrymple has assembled a slew of clips from Steve Jobs’s interview at D8 last night. One of many interesting quotes:

When this whole thing with Gizmodo happened, I got advice from people who said ‘you gotta just let it slide, you shouldn’t go after a journalist because they bought stolen property and they tried to extort you.’ And I thought deeply about this, and I ended up concluding that the worst thing that could possibly happen as we get big and we get a little more influence in the world, is if we change our core values and start letting it slide. I can’t do that.

The extortion angle: Gizmodo refused to return the unit to Apple without a written acknowledgement that the device was Apple’s, so that they could publish it, and Brian Lam’s email to Jobs strongly suggested that Gizmodo would do this again if they weren’t granted better access.

What’s the “core value” at play here, though? “Nobody fucks with us”, perhaps.

AT&T Changes Data Plans, Claims iPhone Tethering Is Coming at OS 4 Launch 

They’re switching to two plans: $15/month for 200 MB, and $25/month for 2 GB. In the latter plan, each gigabyte of overage costs just $10. Sounds fair. And, finally, one year late, official support for iPhone tethering, for an extra $20/month. If you have a current “unlimited” plan, you can keep it if you want.

Personally, I’ve used about 2 GB total on my iPhone over the last four months, about 500 MB per month on average. I could blow past that easily, though, if I made heavy use of tethering — like, say, using it in lieu of $15/day hotel Wi-Fi for a week. These new rates aren’t cheap, but they seem reasonable, especially the overage charges. Sprint, for example, charges $50/GB over your limit.

This also means that people who think they can get by with 200 MB per month can cut their monthly iPhone bill significantly.

‘A Review of Sex and the City 2 by Someone Who Doesn’t Know Anything About It’ 

Tim Siedell:

First off, ladies, I get it. It’s your Star Wars. The opening credits make your tummy tickle the same way the Star Wars theme, to this day, gives me a boner. I understand.

Steve Jobs Live From the D8 Conference 

Interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Josh Topolsky has live coverage at Engadget, too. Update: Video highlights.

Kaleidoscope 1.0 

New file comparison tool from Sofa; shows differences not just between text files but also images. Worth a look; it’s very attractive (as is the website).

Deconstruction of the Wired iPad App 

Speaking of the Wired iPad app, Layton Duncan has a good analysis of how it’s built:

At its core the app is a simple XML driven layout engine. Content is split into “stacks”, each horizontal swipe in the app loads a new stack. Each stack has associated meta data such as title, description, tags etc. Each stack has an ordered list of “assets” which are essentially 1024 × 768 pixel static images of the pages which are displayed while browsing.

That explains why text isn’t selectable. (I wonder if they could switch to PDF for the stacks?)

Adobe Digital Viewer for Magazines 


Adobe Systems Incorporated has unveiled a new digital viewer technology that enables print publishers to bring stunning digital versions of their magazines to life. This new publishing software was developed with input from Condé Nast’s Wired magazine, a publication that recently debuted a digital edition for Apple iPad, utilizing the new digital viewer technology. Wired’s June issue Reader application, now available through the Apple iTunes App Store, is built using Adobe’s digital viewer software.

Speaking of Guys for Whom Apple’s Success Does Not Compute 

Rob Enderle:

Is it possible that all the bungling that took place in Microsoft’s entertainment and hardware division was actually sabotage? In World War II, Germany sent a secret “fifth column” behind enemy lines to disrupt defenses during its invasions. Corporations have engaged in similar activities, and a series of “mistakes” that were beneficial to Apple has me wondering who’s really been calling the shots in Redmond.

He also suspects Apple saboteurs of having sunk Palm’s WebOS and HP’s media players. Also:

However the one saying I’ve made famous is that “perception is 100 percent of reality.”

That actually explains a lot about Rob Enderle.

Woot’s Shirt of the Day 


Paul Thurrott: ‘Understanding iPad’ 

Paul Thurrott, yesterday:

Flaws and all, the iPad is indeed in a class all by itself. It’s a new kind of computing device.

Thurrott, back on April 3:

Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool.

I guess you can argue he was correct both times.

A few more bits from this latest piece:

When you go out and about with just an iPad, you’re sending a message that you’re not going to contribute. You’re just there to consume. This is why the iPad is, to my mind, uniquely unsuitable in the workplace.

The old “it’s for mindless consumption, not creation” angle.

And if you present the iPad as the next generation of a category of devices that previously included the Tablet PC and Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC), someone will point out the iPad’s lack of pen input, handwriting recognition capabilities, and general PC usage. (And of course most Apple people don’t even know that Microsoft and its partners had been innovating in this market for a decade already anyway.)

Microsoft led the way to the iPad, they just happen to have nothing on the market or even on the horizon that competes with it.

Jim Ray: ‘Understanding Paul Thurrott’ 

Whenever I post claim chowder against Paul Thurrott, I get a few emails from readers wondering how the hell he could be so wrong so often. Jim Ray’s theory: that Thurrott is a “full time huckster as blogger”.

I’m going to disagree. I think it’s that he’d rather be wrong repeatedly in the short term than admit that his entire technology industry world view is wrong. His big picture perspective has remained very consistent since the ’90s: Microsoft is the undisputed king of the industry, and Apple makes some nice but trivial niche products.