Linked List: September 2010

Mark Sigal: ‘Apple’s Segmentation Strategy, and the Folly of Conventional Wisdom’ 

Terrific piece by Mark Sigal:

The following inconvenient facts must be an affront to the horizontal, commoditized, open, market share zealots. Apple has launched three major new product lines since 2001: the iPod (October, 2001); the iPhone (July, 2007); and the iPad (April, 2010).

The company’s stock is up 3,000 percent since the launch of iPod, 125 percent since the launch of iPhone, and 20 percent since the launch of iPad.

In that same time period, the major devotees of the loosely coupled model — Microsoft, Google, Intel and Dell — have been, at best, outpaced by Apple 6X (in the case of Google dating back to the launch of iPod) and at worst, either been wiped out (in the case of Dell) or treaded water (in the cases of Microsoft and Intel) in every comparison period.

Whole thing is a must-read.

Beijing Apple Store Closed Due to Scalpers Buying Unlimited iPhone 4s 

The Apple Store lifted its previous limit of two iPhones per customer; this drew an onslaught of scalpers buying 20-30 at a time. (The scalpers resell the iPhones on the gray market.) In the photo, that’s a pile of cash at the register.

Léo Apotheker Named CEO and President of HP 


The Board of Directors of HP today announced the election of Léo Apotheker as Chief Executive Officer and President. Apotheker, who previously served as CEO of SAP, will also join HP’s Board of Directors.

Authentic Jobs Charity: Water Campaign 

Cameron Moll is trying to raise $20,000 to help bring clean water to people in Central African Republic. Clean water — just think for a few seconds about life without access to clean water.

Some great writing about this campaign from Cameron, and from Greg Storey. They could use your help.

Claim Chowder on the Ship Date for BlackBerry Tablet 

Speaking of the BlackBerry PlayBook, currently scheduled to ship in “early 2011”, here’s what Bloomberg’s Hugo Miller reported on July 30:

Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, plans to introduce a tablet computer in November to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPad, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans.

Beware Obfuscated Language 

Derek K. Miller, on Say Media’s acquisition of Six Apart:

And for a personal blogger, writer, and editor like me, the most disturbing stuff is a sentence like this, from the merger press release:

Through the creation of social hubs and influencer-driven custom content programs linked to the innovative AdFrames offering, SAY Media delivers engagement across display and mobile.

Uh, what?

Does that mean anything? Especially for someone who just wants to write and publish a clear and useful website?

It means nothing. It’s gibberish. And it epitomizes everything that’s gone wrong with Six Apart. Compare and contrast with the original Movable Type website from September 2001 — clear, concise, well-written, personal.

Does the BlackBerry PlayBook Actually Exist? 

Justice Gödel Conder asks:

There is not a single frame in the BlackBerry PlayBook commercial that shows the actual device! The only thing being seen in the commercial is CG special effects. Don’t believe me? Watch the ad again. Sure, those special effects are amazingly fast and responsive and cool but where is the device?

And it was never demoed onstage, nor did anyone get to use one at the press event.

Horace Dediu on ‘Non-Google’ Android Phones 

Horace Dediu, on the fact that all iPhones ship with apps that use Google services, but some (many?) Android phones don’t:

In other words, is Google’s income from the iPhone offsetting its losses from Android?

That’s a cheeky way to put it. Another way to look at it is that Google is in a great position: they win if Android wins, and they win if iPhone wins. And I don’t think it’s a zero sum game where only one platform will “win” — it’s looking to me like both the iPhone and Android are winners, which is good news all around for Google. It’s sort of like Microsoft and the Mac — Microsoft makes money when you buy a Windows PC, and they make money when you buy Office for Mac.

Researchers Claim Some Android Apps Covertly Send GPS Data to Advertisers 

Ryan Paul:

They used TaintDroid to test 30 popular free Android applications selected at random from the Android market and found that half were sending private information to advertising servers, including the user’s location and phone number. In some cases, they found that applications were relaying GPS coordinates to remote advertising network servers as frequently as every 30 seconds, even when not displaying advertisements.

WSJ on Dell’s Tablet Plans 

Ross Kelly, reporting for the WSJ:

Dell Inc. will launch its seven-inch tablet in the next few weeks and a 10-inch tablet within 6-12 months, Dell Greater China President Amit Midha said Wednesday. [...]

He said Dell will launch ‘a whole slew’ of new products in the next 6-12 months, including additional three-inch, four-inch and 10-inch devices.

Translation: “We’ll just keep throwing shit up against the wall and hope that something sticks.”

‘Apple and the Open Web’ 

Video of my presentation yesterday at Web 2.0 Expo.

Engadget’s Apple TV 2 Review 

High marks from Josh Topolsky for video and audio quality, particularly compared to competing streaming service devices, but still saddled with frustrating limitations on the content available from iTunes: a limited number of TV shows, and still too many new movie releases that aren’t available to rent until a month after they ship on Blu-ray and DVD.

iFixit Takes Apart the Apple TV 2 

A4 processor, 8 GB of storage, and 256 MB of RAM.

Peter Kafka on the Size of Condé Nast’s iPad Magazine Apps 

Each issue of Wired is around 500 MB, and the first issue of The New Yorker weighs in at 173 MB.

Play Asteroids on Any Web Page 


George Lucas Continues Work on His Promise to Keep Making the Original Star Wars Trilogy Worse 

All six live-action films to be re-released theatrically in “3D” in 2012.

‘Hi Sally’ 

Funny then, heartbreaking now.

R.I.P. Sally Menke, Editor for Quentin Tarantino 

Died while hiking. She’d worked with Tarantino on all of his feature films.

AOL Buys TechCrunch 

Kudos to Om Malik for the scoop yesterday.

DisplayMate’s Comprehensive Comparison of Smartphone Displays 

I mean seriously comprehensive.

Apple Updates Remote App 

Now a universal app with an optimized iPad interface — and multitasking support.

‘Lessons of the Chewbacca Incident’ 

Michael Heilemann analyzes the traffic from a bunch of high-profile websites that linked to his piece on the history of the Chewbacca character in Star Wars.

End of the Road for Xmarks 

2 million users and they can’t make a business out of it.

Speaking Today at Web 2.0 Expo New York 

I’ll be speaking this afternoon at 4:45 at Web 2.0 Expo in New York — a brief talk on Apple and the open Web.

Apple’s Share of the Mobile Advertising Market 

Olga Kharif, reporting for Businessweek:

Apple will end the year with 21 percent of the market, according to estimates provided to by researcher IDC. Google’s share will drop to 21 percent, from 27 percent last year, when combined with results from AdMob, the ad network it bought in May. Microsoft will drop to 7 percent, from 10 percent.

Apple only started selling mobile ads earlier this year. But even if Google’s share is down, the market is growing so fast that their revenue from mobile ads is growing.

Speaking of ‘True Grit’ 

Here’s John Wayne receiving his Oscar for his performance in the original, back in 1970. Now that’s how you receive an award. (And what a lineup of nominees.)

Amazon Launching Their Own Android App Store 

A little birdie tipped me to this over the weekend. It’s Android, but it’s unclear which devices it’s going to work on. One problem this solves for Android developers and users: Amazon takes payments in more countries than Google Checkout does.

Trailer for ‘True Grit’ 

The Coen Brothers’ remake of the classic Western, starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin. Yes.

BlackBerry Tablet OS Application Development 

Two options: HTML/JavaScript/CSS web apps, and Flash.

HP Has No Plans to License WebOS 

Harry McCracken:

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington asked Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP’s Personal Systems Group, whether the company had any intention of licensing WebOS, which it acquired when it bought Palm, to any other company. He gave a definitive “no,” and if that decision has been publicly stated before, I’d missed it.

BlackBerry PlayBook 

Announced today during RIM’s developer conference. 7-inches diagonal, runs the QNX OS that RIM bought earlier this year. The demo is very attractive, with a UI aesthetic that strikes me as a cross between iOS and WebOS. (The app-switching presentation is very WebOS.) The tech specs are interesting: 1 GHz multicore processor, 1 GB of RAM, and it pairs with a BlackBerry phone for tethered network access. Looks like an iPad in standalone product shots, but when you see someone holding it, you can tell just how much smaller a 7-inch display is.

But: It’s not shipping until “early 2011”, and prices haven’t been announced yet. That means it’ll be competing not against today’s iPad, but the second-generation iPad.

U.S. Senate Legislation to Create Internet Blacklist 

Aaron Swartz has started a campaign to stop COICA, proposed legislation to create an Internet blacklist in the U.S. From the fact sheet:

What exactly does it do?

The bill creates two blacklists of Internet domain names. The first can be added to by a court, the second by the Attorney General. Internet service providers (everyone from Comcast to PayPal to Google AdSense) would be required to block any domains on the first list. They would also receive immunity (and presumably the government’s gratitude) for blocking domains on the second list.

Don’t make me quote Ben Franklin again.

Fraser Speirs on the iPad in Education 

Fraser Speirs:

So many people have asked me to explain the educational impact of the iPad. I simply can’t yet get to grips with everything that’s happening. Put simply, the iPad deployment has transformed our school. Not evenly and not everywhere yet, but it’s coming.

Gourmet Live 

Speaking of iPad editions of magazines, Gourmet Live has launched as a free app. There’s a big difference between Gourmet and other iPad magazines — the print edition of Gourmet was closed by Condé Nast a year ago. Gourmet is now only an iPad app. Here’s Anil Dash on how they did it and the thinking behind it.

Jason Schwartzman Introduces The New Yorker iPad App, in a Short Film Directed by Roman Coppola 

For the time being, alas, you have to pay for each issue as an in-app purchase. Print subscribers can access an iPad-optimized version of their web edition, but they don’t get issues in the iPad app — and the web interface doesn’t work offline. In short: it’s an interesting first step, but not yet a replacement for a print subscription.

Also: the letter from the editors about the iPad app.

Segway Company Owner Jimi Heselden Dies in Segway Accident 

The Guardian:

The flamboyant former miner at the head of the Segway scooter company has died in a freak accident by sliding on one of the miniature two-wheelers off a cliff.


U.S. to Propose New Internet Wiretap Regulations 

Charlie Savage, reporting for the NYT:

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

Let’s hope this goes nowhere. I’ll let Ben Franklin speak for me: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Justice Department Requires Six High Tech Companies to Stop Entering Into Anticompetitive Employee Solicitation Agreements 

The U.S. Department of Justice:

The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with six high technology companies — Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., Intuit Inc. and Pixar — that prevents them from entering into no solicitation agreements for employees. The department said that the agreements eliminated a significant form of competition to attract highly skilled employees, and overall diminished competition to the detriment of affected employees who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities.

H&FJ Job Openings for Web Nerds 

Cutting-edge full-time web development jobs working for one of the premier type design firms in the world? If the perfect people for these jobs aren’t DF readers, I’m doing something wrong.

Extending the Urination Metaphor 

Horace Dediu quips wise regarding Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki’s remark that handset makers using Android are like Finnish boys who pee in their pants for warmth in the winter. 

My thanks to PowerMax for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. PowerMax is an Apple authorized reseller with a long history of great service. The sell new Macs, high-quality used and refurbished Macs, and over 65,000 additional products, including iPods and iPads — all with free shipping on orders over $100. How can you not love a company whose slogan is “We work to keep our customers gruntled”?

YouTube Time Machine 

“Pick a year, click refresh, and travel through time.”

Some Photos I Took in Downtown Vegas on a Trip Back in July 

All were taken with my then-brand-new iPhone 4, before the HDR feature was added in iOS 4.1. I didn’t take any other cameras with me on this trip — I thought it would be a good test of the iPhone 4 camera. I did process them using Lightroom, but I didn’t spend any more time on them than usual. For comparison, here’s the unprocessed version of my favorite shot from the set, (a) resized to 1371⁠ ⁠×⁠ ⁠1024 (465 KB); and (b) completely unaltered, right off the camera (2.2 MB).

I still adore and use my three-year-old Ricoh GR-D point-and-shoot, and the iPhone 4 camera isn’t that good (compared to my Ricoh, say) in low light, but with a phone camera this good, it’s hard to justify getting a new standalone point-and-shoot.

Maybe Just Buy a New Bottle of Shampoo Next Time 

From The Telegraph’s week in pictures:

A man had to be rescued by firefighters after getting his hand stuck down the toilet while trying to retrieve a bottle of shampoo. Wang Xuekui explains: “I wanted to wash my hair, but accidentally dropped the shampoo bottle into the toilet hole.” He put his hand down the hole in an effort to fish the bottle out. “I touched the bottle but when I was going to pull it out my arm was suddenly sucked in.”

Better Than a Gold Watch 

Nice five-year employment anniversary gift for Rogue Amoeba’s Mike Ash.

‘How About That?’ 

The television broadcast of game seven of the 1960 World Series was long considered lost. A copy has been found, apparently in good condition, in Bing Crosby’s wine cellar/media vault:

Crosby loved baseball, but as a part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates he was too nervous to watch the Series against the Yankees, so he and his wife went to Paris, where they listened by radio.

“He said, ‘I can’t stay in the country,’” his widow, Kathryn Crosby, said. “‘I’ll jinx everybody.’”

He knew he would want to watch the game later — if his Pirates won — so he hired a company to record Game 7 by kinescope, an early relative of the DVR, filming off a television monitor. The five-reel set, found in December in Crosby’s home, is the only known complete copy of the game, in which Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a game-ending home run to beat the Yankees, 10-9. It is considered one of the greatest games ever played.

MLB plans to broadcast the game in December.

David Pogue on Sony’s Innovative New A55 Camera 

Interesting new interchangeable lens camera.

I’ll Give You Seven Inches 

This week’s episode of the best podcast in the world that features me and Dan Benjamin as co-hosts. Topics include the idea of a 7-inch iPad, resolution independence, and AirPlay as the new Apple TV’s stealth hit feature.

This week’s episode was sponsored by Theodolite, a very cool iPhone app that overlays a compass, GPS, rangefinder, level indication, and more over the live camera, a la Luke Skywalker’s macrobinoculars.

How Much Is Facebook, as a Company, Worth? 

Speaking of Facebook, David Heinemeier Hansson takes issues with reports that Facebook — still a private company — has a valuation of $33 billion. Over on Hacker News, Joel Spolsky says DHH doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

DHH’s most interesting point — which was news to me — is that Facebook took another $120 million round of venture capital just three months ago. But in the Hacker News thread, commenters point out that it was not another round of funding; it was $120 million in purchases of existing shares — cash for the founders, not funding for the company.

Bottom line: there are a lot of people who think Facebook is the next Google, but there are others who think it’s the next MySpace.

Om Malik on the Facebook Phone 

Interesting details culled from a bunch of sources. The concept is a lot more interesting if Om is right that it’ll be bundled with Spotify.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Preview Video 

Now here’s a video of an iPad competitor that actually looks pretty good. I’d sure like to try one. (Samsung sure isn’t bashful about copying UI ideas, though, are they?)

Purported Video of HP Slate Running Windows 7 

If this is real, and HP releases this thing, it’s time to sell your HP stock. I’m thinking it’s a joke — laggy scrolling, a mouse cursor on a touchscreen, a hardware button to invoke the software keyboard, a hardware button dedicated for Ctrl-Alt-Del (!) — but it does look like the device HP showed here, and the guys at Engadget suspect it’s legit. Jiminy.

Update: Marco Arment chimes in.

‘George Lucas Stole Chewbacca, but It’s Okay’ 

Michael Heilemann’s copiously-researched history of how Chewbacca evolved “in the space between idea, page and screen.” Terrific. (Via Kottke.)

Mobile Handset Profit Share Over the Last Three Years 

A different perspective than the pie charts yesterday. Android hasn’t had much of an effect here, at least not yet.

102-Year-Old Lens on a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR 

Dreamlike results.

The Twitter Hack: How It Started and How It Worked 

Cogent explanation from Richard Gaywood.

‘ū—’: A Distraction-Free Writing Environment 

Merlin Mann:

While some so-called environments that are less free of distraction may display one, three, or even more lines of text — all at the same time — we understand that if you could only achieve the theoretical removal of all theoretical distractions, you would finally be able to write something. And we want ‘ū—’ to help you almost do that.

What’s Popular Now Must Always Remain Popular, Right? 

So Tom Arah made an argument that, because Flash is popular now — installed on 97 percent of web browsers in use, by one count — it will always remain popular, and “should eventually become the natural cross-OS and cross-browser web platform for devices, just as it is for the desktop.”

Chris Pepper responds:

People who are aware of this struggle understand that h.264’s recent growth has largely been at the expense of Flash video, and because iOS doesn’t support it. If the iPhone and iPad supported Flash, we’d be watching (or trying to watch) videos in Adobe’s broken mobile Flash player.

We, as an industry, are either stuck with Flash forever, or it will go into decline because of one or more popular platforms that do not support it.

iWork for iPad 1.2 

Jason Snell:

All three apps now support transferring documents to and from the iDisk feature that’s a part of Apple’s MobileMe online service. Users without MobileMe aren’t completely out of luck, though: according to Apple’s release notes for the products, the apps can also transfer files to servers running WebDAV.

Joshua Benton Sees the NYT’s New Opinion Pages as Being Influenced by iPad App Design 

See also: Khoi Vinh’s comments.

‘Tall Women Carrying Heavy Things’ 

Eric Schmidt on The Colbert Report last night. Worth it.

Why Is RIM No Longer Announcing Average Selling Prices? 

Dan Frommer:

RIM announced on its earnings call last week that it would stop announcing average selling prices (“ASPs”) after this quarter. RIM blamed the move on the increase in both the number of devices it sells and the number of countries it sells BlackBerry devices into, which “makes forecasting product mix and therefore ASP increasingly difficult.”

But it’s also possible that RIM doesn’t want to keep reporting ASPs because the trend is generally downward.


New search product from CP Labs. I’ve been beta-testing it, and can’t say enough good things about it.

‘I’ll Take 2 MasterCards and a Visa, Please’ 

Brian Krebs on shopping for stolen credit cards.

The Real Secret of Apple’s Product Philosophy 

Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese:

The real secret to Apple’s success is that there are no secrets.

We often hear that Apple “plays the game” better than Sony, HP, Dell, etc — that’s not quite right. Apple is playing an entirely different game. What’s most amazing about this? Nobody else seems to want to play with them, they just keep playing the “other” game, and poorly.

Brilliant. It’s that simple: Apple cares about details that no other company cares about, and these details matter.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Pricing Problem 

Peter Rojas:

It’s attractive to think about tablets as big smartphones that need to be sold in the same way, but at the end of the day they’re just not. Tablets aren’t substitutes for smartphones, they’re complements, and for a lot of people they’re a third (or even fourth or fifth) mobile device, and expecting them to buy one with a data plan isn’t realistic.

To subsidize (with carrier contracts) or not to subsidize, that is the question.

Due — iPhone Reminder App 

I’ve been trying this $3 app for a few days and digging it — a convenient, low-friction way to set short-term reminders and timers. Sort of like Pester but for iPhone. Focused and thoughtful design.

VLC Quality 

It’s a cliffhanger.

The iPad as the Low-Price Leader in Tablets 

Jeff Bertolucci:

But for now, Apple’s iPad pricing is impressively affordable relative to its Android competitors. Who would’ve known?

Um, how about anyone who’s been paying attention to what’s actually going on and what Apple’s executives are saying, rather than holding onto preconceived notions from decades ago that Apple products aren’t price competitive?

Pie Charts Showing Apple’s Share of the Mobile Industry’s Profits 

The iPhone is doomed.

MI6 ‘Used Bodily Fluids as Invisible Ink’ 

Yeah, that bodily fluid.

Apple Dominates University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index 

Not only do they lead the PC industry, but, as Erica Ogg reports for CNet:

The Mac maker’s nine-point lead is now the largest lead any company has over its competition in any of the 45 categories that the ACSI study surveys — including home appliances, gas stations, autos, e-commerce, airlines, and more.

Redesigned Opinion Pages 

Nice layout, but it’s the use of web fonts that really stands out. Their website is really starting to look like the newspaper — not literally, but in the sense of having the same vibe.

Kevin Fox: ‘The First Step to Fixing the Android Marketplace Has Nothing to Do With the Android Marketplace’ 

Spot-on analysis of how the fact that Android has both “home screens” (where some of your installed apps appear) and a second-level “launcher” (where all of your installed apps appear) hinders the conceptual prominence of the Android Market.

R.I.P. Six Apart 

No longer a joke.

Paul Thurrott: Droid ‘Spells Doom for iPhone’ 

Paul Thurrott:

Aside from the abysmal online store experiences, however, Android and the DROID X are first rate. And looking ahead, I’ll be comparing this system to the upcoming first generation Windows Phone 7 devices, and to Apple’s latest iPhone, to see where these systems fall. For now, however, Android and the DROID X are, warts and all, already neck and neck with the iPhone 4. It’s scary to think how one-sided this would be if Google just put a handful of UI experts on the marketplace. Game over, Apple. Game over.

Sure, that’s the ticket. Just add a couple of “UI experts” to the Android Market team.

‘The Process Is Really Just Iterate, Iterate, Iterate’ 

Speaking of UI designers, Lukas Mathis has a nice interview with Chris Clark.


Promising new weblog from UI designer Thibaut Sailly. Just a few articles in, but great insight on the new Twitter for iPad, and a nice piece about the clever design of the Bureau website itself.

Update: Was fireballed for a bit, but seems to be back.

‘Never Mind the Bullets’ 

Web comic implemented in HTML5, part of Microsoft’s “Beauty of the Web” campaign to promote IE9. (Don’t bother trying it on an iPad, though — the navigation is hover-based, and there’s no hovering on the iPad.)

Another New Kindle Commercial 

No comparison to the iPad, but the message remains the same: works in daylight, can be held in one hand, only $139. That’s a strong, simple message. Now that the Kindle starts at such a low price, you can think of it as analogous to an iPod. What the iPod Nano is to music, the Kindle is to reading.

Oracle and HP Kiss and Make Up Over Mark Hurd Lawsuit 

Hurd keeps the cash but gives up the HP stock options he got in his severance package, and all is now well. ‘onmouseover’ Security Flaw Widely Exploited 

Twitter claims it’s been patched.

Sports Illustrated iPad App Goes Horizontal-Only 

Editor Josh Quittner cites the cost of designing two layouts for each spread, and the smaller download size. It’s an interesting design question whether design-heavy iPad magazine editions should support both orientations. We don’t expect games, for example, to support both. (Via Peter Kafka.)

The Grownups’ Hour 

From a classic mid-’60s ad for Beefeater gin:

Summon the children just before you mix the martini. Announce to them that it is now grownups’ hour — and they are to pursue their play elsewhere. The martini hour is for those who are going to drink martinis.

Not coincidentally, Mondays are when I watch Mad Men. (Via Joe Dawson at Coudal Partners, a place that knows their martinis.)

The Birdfeed Easter Egg That Never Was 

Buzz Andersen on his and Neven Mrgan’s plans to add a “Mr Macintosh” Easter egg to Birdfeed — Mr Macintosh being a planned but abandoned Easter egg Steve Jobs devised for the original 1984 Mac.

Samsung Galaxy S Femme, the ‘Ultimate Android Phone for All Women’ 

One thing Samsung can do that Apple apparently can’t: produce their phones in multiple colors.

Doc Searls: ‘Let’s Kill Interruptive Ads’ 

Doc Searls:

Here’s what I believe: It doesn’t matter how much money interruptive ads make for publications on the Web. They sap the readers’ tolerance and good will, and any unnecessary amount of that is too high a price to pay.


Not So Fast on That Demo Purporting to Show That Flash Player Is Faster Than HTML5 Canvas on Mobile Devices 

Ends up the “HTML5” test was really, really poorly coded. Here’s a version that gets 45 FPS on my iPhone 4. Pays to be skeptical of any claim that Flash Player works well on mobile devices.

Update: Here’s another tweaked version of the canvas demo, this one from Charles Ying, that updates the FPS counter less frequently (to match the Flash version), which performs even better.


Really fun, nicely designed 99-cent iPhone app that simulates an old-school photobooth.

VLC Media Player for iPad 

Free video playback app for the iPad, with support for a bunch of formats iOS doesn’t natively support.

Sean Kovacs’s GV Mobile Back in App Store 

His $2.99 Google Voice client app for the iPhone was removed back in July 2009, during Apple’s purge of all Google Voice-related apps. As of this weekend, it’s back in the store. More proof that Apple is, for now at least, loosening up on App Store restrictions.

No word yet on whether Google’s own official Google Voice app will make it into the store, though.

Adam Lisagor’s Trailer for Michael Lopp’s ‘Being Geek: The Software Developer’s Career Handbook’ 

A fun video for a great book.

Chris Black: ‘Flash Outperforms HTML5 on Mobile Devices’ 

John Nack’s headline for the same benchmark: “Flash Runs Faster, More Efficiently Than HTML5 on Mobile”.

It’s a good demonstration, but I’d have a warmer feeling in my heart if they were more specific about what’s being benchmarked. It’s the HTML5 canvas element that they’re showing Flash Player outperforming, not the entirety of HTML5. How about video playback, for example?

Austin Seraphin on the iPhone for the Blind 

Moving, beautiful story:

Last Wednesday, my life changed forever. I got an iPhone. I consider it the greatest thing to happen to the blind for a very long time, possibly ever.

This is from June. Last week, he bought an iMac. (Via Andy Baio.)

Update: Fireballed; here are links to Google’s cached versions of his pieces about the iPhone and iMac.

iAds and Yahoo 

Remember the other day, when Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz predicted doom for Apple’s iAd platform, because Apple is exerting too much control over them? They’d be doing even worse if Yahoo weren’t one of the companies that’s already buying them.

Verizon Commercial for Samsung Fascinate 

No mention of the words “Droid” or “Android”.


My thanks to The Little App Factory for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Ringtones, their excellent $12.95 ringtone-maker app for Mac OS X. It works with any DRM-free song or audio file in your iTunes music library, the editing interface is easy (and looks great), and it sends your ringtones right back to iTunes for syncing with your iPhone.

DF readers can save 20 percent using the coupon “DF2010RING”. And, for a limited time, you can use that same coupon to save 12 percent off the TLAF Software Passport — a discounted bundle that includes every App Factory product.

Bloomberg: Apple Negotiating With Publishers Over Digital Newsstand 


Apple Inc. is developing a digital newsstand for publishers that would let them sell magazines and newspapers to consumers for use on Apple devices, said two people familiar with the matter.

The newsstand, designed particularly for the iPad, would be similar to Apple’s iBook store for electronic books, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. The newsstand would be separate from Apple’s App Store, where people can buy some publications now, they said.

Pixel-Art 2010 MLB Uniforms 

Interesting fact I gleaned from this: there are only four teams remaining with just two uniforms, home and away: the Yankees, Tigers, Cardinals, and Dodgers.

Update: And, as per Kevin Crossman, the Yankees and Dodgers are the only two teams with just two uniforms and a single cap style.

iPad Light Painting 

Very cool stop-motion animation technique.

Commodore 64 Emulator for iOS Now Has BASIC 

Proof that Apple really has relaxed its rules on interpreters in iOS apps: Manomio’s Commodore 64 emulator now has a BASIC mode.

Peter-Paul Koch on Nokia 

Peter-Paul Koch:

Why on earth wouldn’t Nokia be able to maintain two operating systems?

Apple does it: Mac OS and iOS. Google does it: Android and ChromeOS. Microsoft does it, 7, Vista, XP, and maybe even older versions. And Windows Phone 7, of course. And I’m sure HP has a few OS skeletons in the contractual closet.

This is at least partly in response to my argument that “Nokia needs to settle on one software platform for mobile devices, very soon.” I shouldn’t have written “mobile devices”; I should have written “smartphones”.

Is Symbian fine for low-end “feature” phones? Sure. I’d say it’s sort of equivalent to the Pixo OS that Apple uses in iPods. The point is that Apple has no confusion about which of its OSes to use in which products. Is it a PC? Mac OS X. Touchscreen mobile computer? iOS. Media player handheld? Pixo. I’m saying a big part of Nokia’s problem is that they have no single answer regarding what their OS is for smartphones.

Koch goes on to argue that Nokia has made this decision, and it’s MeeGo — their problem is simply that they’re too slow to execute it.

(Also: the Android-or-Chrome OS question may well prove to be a problem for Google. Which is their OS to compete against the iPad? From what I hear, the Android team says Android, and the Chrome team says Chrome.)

Nilay Patel on Skyhook-Google 

Nilay Patel:

Now, this is Skyhook’s side of the story and we’re sure Google will make a persuasive argument of its own, but let’s just back up for a moment here and point out the obvious: Google’s never, ever come out and clearly said what’s required for devices to gain access to Android Market and the branded apps like Gmail — even though we’ve been directly asking about those requirements since Android first launched.

AirPlay as Apple’s Backdoor Strategy for Apple TV Content 

Seth Weintraub:

AppleTV is an AirPlay-compatible device, meaning it can stream video/sound from other Apple devices. We found out last night that it isn’t just iTunes content that it will be able to broadcast. Any H.264 content from the web can be broadcast over AirPlay to your HD TV.

That includes any video that can play on your iOS 4.2 device, like: Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Videos, BBC News, MLB and really anything else you can watch on your iOS device. That also includes videos built into Apps and magazine subscriptions too.  Everything can all be beamed to your AppleTV via AirPlay.

I noticed this in iOS 4.2, too. E.g. the MLB At Bat app for the iPad — it now has an AirPlay button. Presumably, once I get the new Apple TV, I’ll be able to use it as the playback destination for any video on the iPad or iPhone. This is exactly what I was wondering about after the Apple TV 2 announcement: maybe we don’t need Apple TV apps, but instead just AirPlay and existing iOS apps.

It’s unclear to me, though, whether developers will have any control over this. Can a developer make a video app for the iPad that purposely doesn’t support AirPlay? Hulu, for example, has notoriously blocked efforts to make it work on devices connected to a TV. What if there is no opt-out?

Update: From a friend:

Apps using the built-in media controller views get AirPlay out for free. Apps that don’t (like Hulu) need to roll their own using AVFoundation.

So any iOS app that uses the built-in media playback views is going to be an AirPlay source.

Jim Ray on the New 

Jim Ray:

More than anything, the site really seems to underscore that Twitter is a platform, not a site. That’s certainly been their M.O. for years now but it finally feels that way.

LG Sacks CEO After Record Mobile-Phone Losses 

Jun Yang, reporting for Bloomberg:

LG Electronics Inc., the world’s third-largest mobile-phone maker, replaced its chief executive officer after a record loss at the flagship handset business, prompting the stock’s biggest gain in about six months.

“Third-largest” by unit sales, I presume, but using unit sales as a metric is what led companies like LG and Nokia into their current state. Apple is now the world’s biggest phone maker, measured by profit — and that’s why these other CEOs are getting canned.

Dave Winer on Unread Counts 

Dave Winer:

Why does Twitter work better for news than Google Reader? Simple, Twitter gives you what’s new now. You don’t have to hunt around to find the newest stuff. And it doesn’t waste your time by telling you how many unread items you have. Who cares. (It’s like asking how many NYT articles you haven’t read. It would be gargantuan. I don’t bother you with the number of Scripting News posts you haven’t read, so why does Google?)

Update: Good point from Anil Dash:

Unread counts have always sucked, @davewiner is right. But sadly, on iOS devices they’re the only thing you can add to an icon.

Morgan Stanley Analyst Katy Huberty: ‘Tablet Cannibalization’ Slowing Growth of Laptop PC Sales 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt on a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, suggesting that “tablet cannibalization” has slowed the growth of PC laptop sales:

  • NPD data showing that after six months of decelerating growth, U.S. retail notebook unit growth fell 4% year over year in August, marking the first time those numbers had actually gone negative.
  • Similar data for the first week of September showing that units fell 4% year over year again.
  • BestBuy CEO Brian Dunn’s widely repeated remarks in the Wall Street Journal that “internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50 percent.”

Two observations:

  • There’s been no sign that Mac laptop sales have slowed. We only have one quarter of results for the iPad era, but Mac sales were up 33 percent year-over-year. If it’s true that “laptop” sales overall are slowing, it’s coming entirely at the expense of Apple’s competitors. My theory is that it’s simply about price points. Apple’s MacBooks start at $999. The iPad isn’t competing against MacBooks — it’s competing against $500-900 computers.

  • Calling this “tablet cannibalization” is bullshit. There’s only one tablet on the market so far.

The Talk Show, Episode 8 

Topics this week include the iOS 4.2 beta for the iPad (which is great), the new, and a bunch of other crap — but who cares about the topics because what makes this episode better than usual is our special guest star, Adam Lisagor.

This week’s episode is sponsored by MailChimp, who’ve got a spiffy new web page about their better-than-ever free services.

Best Buy CEO: iPad Is Cannibalizing Laptop Sales by 50 Percent 

Your “holy shit” statement of the day.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz on Apple’s iAd: ‘That’s Going to Fall Apart for Them’ 

Maybe she’s right. Let’s check back in a year.

Screenshot of Angry Birds for BlackBerry 

Works on all BlackBerrys, including those without a touchscreen. (Via Josh Topolsky.)

September 16, Jobs Day 

Interesting fact: Jobs was forced out of Apple on 16 September 1985; he rejoined on 16 September 1997. So, he was there for seven years, gone for 12, and has now been back for 13.

Update: Chris Espinosa, who knows a little about Apple history, tweets:

Jobs was forced out of power 5/28/85, and resigned 9/12/85; Apple bought NeXT 12/20/96 and closed 2/4/97. 9/16 is not “Jobs day.”

‘Don’t Be Evil’ 

Dan Frommer:

All’s fair in business, we suppose. But Google is now basically acting like heyday-era Microsoft here, throwing its weight around and screwing over small companies for its own gain.

What’s particularly Microsoftian about this Skyhook lawsuit is the tying of an unrelated product or service — in this case location services — to the OS.

Skyhook Sues Google for Interference, Patent Infringement 

Clint Boulton, reporting for eWeek:

In the interference suit, filed in Massachusetts Superior Court, Skyhook claimed Google costs it tens of millions of dollars by trying to cut in on its contract with Motorola, which makes smartphones that leverage location services.

Motorola, which makes and sells smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system, agreed to use Skyhook’s XPS location technology in April.

When Google Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin learned of this, according to the suit, he called Motorola Co-CEO Sanjay Jha to impose a “stop ship” order, preventing Motorola from shipping Android wireless devices featuring Skyhook’s XPS software.

Rubin claimed that using XPS in Android phones would make them incompatible. Motorola ended up shipping its Motorola Droid X smartphone in mid-July using Google’s location software instead of the Skyhook XPS technology.


Acorn 2.5 

Nice update to Flying Meat’s “image editor for humans”. Among a slew of new features: layer masks.

Stephen Colbert Channels Dr. Strangelove 


The Very Last Thing Alex Payne Will Write About Twitter 

Alex Payne:

A large part of the reason I left Twitter was a fundamental philosophical difference that I couldn’t reconcile, either for myself or the company. I believe that Twitter as a medium is and should be distinct from Twitter as a business. Put another way, there’s an important difference between lowercase “t” tweeting and uppercase “T” Twitter, just as with democrat and Democrat.

Nokia Is the McDonald’s of Phones 

Astute analysis on Nokia’s market position from Brian Barrett.

Interesting WSJ Interview With IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano 

Spencer E. Ante, for the WSJ:

In a rare public broadside, IBM Chief Executive Samuel J. Palmisano said he doesn’t worry about companies such as H-P that have slashed their investments in core technologies and need to make expensive acquisitions to keep up.

“H-P used to be a very inventive company,” Mr. Palmisano said in an interview at a Wall Street Journal event on Tuesday. IBM would never have paid what H-P did to buy data-storage provider 3PAR Inc., he said. “[H-P] had no choice,” said Mr. Palmisano. “Hurd cut out all the research and development.” [...]

The executive said he worries about software giant Oracle and believes it will become the biggest threat to IBM over the long term. “Oracle invests,” said Mr. Palmisano, who praised Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Lost World’s Fairs 

Lovely web design work from some top designers, commissioned by Microsoft to celebrate IE9’s support for web fonts. More here from Jason Santa Maria on how the project came to be.

Bill Hill on the iPad and Kindle 

He much prefers the iPad as a device, but his favorite reading app is the Kindle app. Regarding the displays:

When the history of reading on screens is written, it might well be seen as a series of footnotes to the iPad. Yes, we’ve had other eBook devices before now. And yes, the Kindle broke new ground with long battery life using the eInk technology. But as I said in an earlier post, eInk is essentially a backward-looking technology, too slavishly bound to emulating paper, and it’s an evolutionary dead-end.

The iPad, with a crisp, bright high-resolution screen capable of handling color and video, yet with acceptable battery life, has moved us out of the Dark Ages. It’s the first eBook device I’ve seen that really feels like it’s changed the world. I vastly prefer it to paper.

As for his fondness for the Kindle app, here’s what I wrote back on January 28:

As for Amazon, they might wind up delighted with this thing. Apple’s in the business of selling devices first, content second. I think Amazon is in the content business first, the device business second. A world where Kindle hardware sales pale in comparison to the iPad but where there’s a very popular Kindle app for iPad that competes against iBooks is not a bad situation for Amazon. Apple is only selling e-books for use on their own devices; Amazon is willing to sell e-books anywhere they can.

MG Siegler on the New 

Good rundown of some of the subtle new features of the new Twitter web interface.

‘Just As Much, If Not More, Evidence’ 

One more gem from Delaware’s Republican Senate nominee, Christine O’Donnell, this time on evolution vs. creationism:

“Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.”

Steve Martin Is Now on Twitter 

“My publicist is nervous about my becoming a Tweeter. He says celebrities tend to make such monumental gaffes. He’s such a typical Wop!”

Charles P. Pierce on Christine O’Donnell 

Charles P. Pierce:

She is what politics produces when you divorce politics from government. She is what you get when you sell to the country that nothing government can do will help, and that the government is an alien thing, and that politics is nothing more than the active public display of impotent grievance.

iOS 4.2 Goes Beta; Apple Announces AirPrint 

Apple PR:

Apple today announced that it is releasing a beta version of its AirPrint wireless printing for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to members of Apple’s iOS developer program today, and that AirPrint will be included in the free iOS 4.2 software update in November. AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks and can print text, photos and graphics to them wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need to install drivers or download software. HP’s existing and upcoming ePrint enabled printers will be the first to support printing direct from iOS devices.

Ed Bott Reviews Internet Explorer 9 

The new UI removes most of the junk from the UI. Kind of interesting how web browsers have evolved to expose fewer UI elements. Most apps go the other way over time.

The Billionaire Koch Brothers’ War Against Obama 

Fascinating reporting by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker on David and Charles Koch, billionaire oil magnates who’ve spent over $100 million funding far-right political groups.

Update: The Kochs’ response.

Climbing to the Top of a 1,700-Foot Transmission Tower 


Douglas Trumbull Says Warner Bros. Has Pulled the Plug on ‘2001’ Documentary 

A shame.

Chase Jarvis Road Tests the New Nikon D7000 

Chase Jarvis:

When an automaker rolls a new car off the assembly line, the first thing they do is call in a professional driver to “road test” that car. They’re armed with the basic tech specs, but the drivers aren’t overly saddled with capturing data and providing computer-style analysis. In reality they don’t care about that stuff. The care how the car feels.

In the very same way, I got to “road test” the Nikon D7000. This behind the scenes video (above), this short film Benevolent Mischief I got to make with the new 1080p HD video (below), and the still photos I shot after the jump tell my story of getting to play with this cool new camera.

In short, they gave him the camera and some money and told him to make something cool.

Anti-Masturbation Candidate Wins Republican Senate Primary in Delaware 

“The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. You can’t masturbate without lust!” You can’t make this shit up.

Twitter’s Growth Chart 

90 million tweets per day now; kind of amazing considering how much Twitter struggled with — relative to current traffic — so few tweets back in 2006-07. Redesign 

Looks good to me, but I don’t use the web interface much, and didn’t much care for the old one. A little reminiscent of the layout and flow of the new Twitter for iPad app. Clicking around some more, it’s hard not to attribute a lot of what’s nice about this new design to Doug Bowman. It does a lot more but feels a lot less cluttered than the previous design — a hard combination to pull off.

Joel Johnson on AirPlay 

Joel Johnson:

But it looks like Apple is setting up the possibility to share the content on your iOS device with just a couple of clicks, not just at home, but anywhere.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 HTML5 Pack 


This add-on for Illustrator CS5 15.0.1 provides initial support for HTML5 and CSS3, extends SVG capability in Illustrator CS5, and helps you easily design web and device content.

Here’s an interesting demo from Adobe’s Greg Rewis showing how it can be used. (The video, ironically but unsurprisingly, requires Flash Player.)

The Luckiest Bastards Alive 

Made my palms sweaty. (Some of these people — the train dodgers in particular — really put the dumb in dumb luck.)

Paul Karl Lukacs Was Detained by the Feds for Not Answering Questions 

Paul Karl Lukacs:

“Why were you in China?” asked the passport control officer, a woman with the appearance and disposition of a prison matron.

“None of your business,” I said.

Her eyes widened in disbelief.

“Excuse me?” she asked.

“I’m not going to be interrogated as a pre-condition of re-entering my own country,” I said.

This did not go over well.

Don’t miss the follow-up, either. (Via Jonathan Wight.)

A Failure of Ethics in Journalism 

Crazy Apple Rumors:

Just as reporters in the 1930s helped cover up Roosevelt’s illness and in the 1960′s helped cover up Kennedy’s philandering, we in the Apple press community help cover up the fact that Jobs is a ninja. We’ve been doing it for years.

Is Verizon Set to Launch Their Own ‘V Cast’ Android App Store? 

Taylor Wimberly at Android and Me:

On September 1st Verizon opened submissions for Android apps into their V CAST App Store. Entry into the store is completely free, but unlike the official Android Market (where anything goes) each app will go through a detailed evaluation and approval process prior to launch.

No information was provided on the launch window for the app store, but Verizon is hosting their developers conference on Sept. 21-22 so we should have more details soon.

If Verizon’s store is presented as an alternative to Google’s Android Market, this could be a good thing, both for users and developers. Competition is healthy. But what if Verizon is planning it as a replacement for Android Market? Is exclusivity a requirement for apps to get into the V Cast store — or can developers sell the same apps through both stores? If they’re exclusive, then it’s a way to prevent users from switching to an Android phone on any other carrier.

Everything Is a Remix 

Part one of a four-part series by Kirby Ferguson. Trust me, watch it.

Security Advisory for Adobe Flash Player (APSA10-03) 


A Security Advisory (APSA10-03) has been posted in regards to a new Adobe Flash Player issue (CVE-2010-2884). A critical vulnerability exists in Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Solaris and Android.

Flash Player for iOS is not affected.

Fighting the Wrong Fight 

Smart piece by Elia Freedman, cutting through the noise:

We have been distracted by ridiculous arguments and fabricated “wars” for too long. We have been distracted by thinking that Google is Microsoft and Apple is Apple in a doomed fight already fought 20 years ago.

But that is not the fight we should be caring about at all. The fight we should be talking about, but aren’t, is the fight between mobile device makers and the carriers. This is the only real fight that matters.

Super Mario Bros.’s 25th Anniversary 

Nice commercial.

App Store Instant 

Live search front-end to the iOS App Store.

SPA Magazine: Steve Jobs Stopped at Japan Airport Over Ninja Stars 


Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said he’ll never come back to Japan after officials at an airport barred him from taking Ninja throwing stars aboard his private plane, SPA! magazine reported in its latest issue. [...]

Jobs said it wouldn’t make sense for a person to try to hijack his own plane, according to the report. He then told officials he would never visit Japan again, the magazine reported.

I wonder if they were gifts for Larry Ellison?

Update: Apple, in an official response, says Jobs did visit Kyoto in July, “but the incidents described at the airport are pure fiction.”

HTML5 Video Player Comparison Chart 

Useful resource from Philip Bräunlich. (Via Cameron Moll.)

John Siracusa’s Review of the Mac OS X Public Beta 

There’s a lot about the Mac OS X Public Beta that feels really old, but nothing more than “Music Player”.

(Safari’s Reader view works well to stitch together the 16 (!) page breaks.)

Amazon’s New Kindle Commercial 

Taking the iPad head-on as an e-reader: cheaper and works in bright sunlight. Note also that the woman is holding her Kindle easily in one hand. Good ad.

Biolab Disaster 

Fabulous jump-run-shoot platform game by Dominic Szablewski — pure HTML5 and JavaScript, no Flash, no plugins. Super fun.

Ten Years Ago Today: Mac OS X Public Beta 

Good times. Benj Edwards has a detailed look back at Macworld.

MacRumors: Apple Acquired Imsense Ltd. for HDR Capabilities in iOS 4.1 

Great reporting by Eric Slivka at MacRumors.

Bouncing Beholder 

From Marijn Haverbeke, “a JavaScript platform game that fits in 1024 bytes”.

Jean-Louis Gassée on the Challenges Facing Stephen Elop at Nokia 

Jean-Louis Gassée:

Today, Nokia pushes devices that use older Symbian S60 stacks, newer Symbian^3 and Symbian^4 engines, as well as a mobile Linux derivative: Meego. Imagine the chuckles in the halls of Cupertino, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. Even with plenty of money and management/engineering talent, updating one software platform is a struggle. Ask Apple, Google, or HP, and the chuckles quickly become groans. Nokia thinks it can stay on the field when it’s playing the game in such a disorganized fashion?

That’s Nokia’s problem in a nut. They need a single cohesive, attractive mobile software platform.

Interesting to me is that one aspect of Elop’s career hasn’t gotten much attention: he was the CEO of Macromedia at the time they were pushing Flash Lite as a mobile software platform. So: Elop has already led a major effort to establish a mobile software platform, and it utterly failed, and left the non-Lite regular-strength Flash in a mobile platform hole that Adobe is still trying to dig itself out of.

Nokia’s Vanjoki Resigns as New CEO Elop Comes In 


Anssi Vanjoki, the Nokia executive in charge of smartphones and services, is resigning following the appointment of outsider Stephen Elop as CEO of the world’s biggest cellphone maker.

What if Elop brings in J Allard and Robbie Bach?

The Power of Exchange’s ‘Remote Wipe’ 

I never really thought about this, but it’s pretty awful. When you create an Exchange email/calendar/contacts account on your mobile device — WebOS, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, whatever — you’re implicitly granting your company’s IT department the ability to wipe all data off your phone at any time. Not just the Exchange account data, but all data.

Seven Points Through the First 59:57 Doesn’t Tend to Cut It in the NFL, No Matter How the Last Play Goes Down 

The NFL season has started, and last night in a nationally televised game, my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, lost 13-7 in spectacularly ignominious fashion to the lowly Washington Redskins, insofar as (a) the only touchdown the Redskins scored was a defensive touchdown from a fluke fumble recovery on a first-half-ending play Dallas never should have called; and (b) the final play of the game, a come-from-behind go-ahead touchdown after Tony Romo led an 80-yard drive with under two minutes to play, was negated by a bone-headed holding penalty by the (I hope) soon-to-be-unemployed right tackle Alex Barron. This is important because it has robbed me of a chance to gloat.

Meet Josh Simpson, the Man Behind Twitter’s @BPGlobalPR 

Nice scoop from Mat Honan for The Awl.

Michael Gartenberg on Whether the Carriers Are Ruining the Android Experience 

Michael Gartenberg;

It’s somewhat ironic that the Nexus One remains a flagship device for the Android platform early nine months after introduction because it’s a shining example of timely updates — it takes advantage of all of Android 2.2 Froyo’s features, something that no other device on the market can claim. Perhaps it’s also time for Google to re-think the Nexus phone path and once again show the market not only what state-of-the-art hardware looks like but also a state-of-the-art software vision as well.

What percentage of Android users have even seen Google’s default Android UI?

Most Common Words Unique to 1-Star and 5-Star App Store Reviews  

Another wee bit of brilliance from Marco Arment. (I still think Apple should call them “comments”, not “reviews”.)

How Good Is Gartner at Predicting Smartphone Market Share? 

So good that in 2006, they predicted that Windows Mobile was poised to take over the industry and attract the most developers.

Microsoft Workers Celebrated Windows Phone 7 RTM With Staged Funeral for iPhone and BlackBerry 

So, so odd. For one thing, the iPhone and BlackBerry should not be the rivals they have in their sights. Android should be. Android is the mobile platform that is eating Windows Mobile’s lunch — a licensed platform for OEMs like HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc. If Windows Phone 7 doesn’t take market share away from Android, who’s going to make Windows Phone 7 devices?

But the whole thing is just so corny and embarrassing. Ignore the fact that Windows Phone 7 almost certainly isn’t going to slow the success of the iPhone. Let’s just concede, for the sake of argument, that Microsoft is exactly right and Windows Phone 7 will kill the iPhone and BlackBerry. This goofy “funeral” is still lame — and will look lame in hindsight. And that’s if Windows Phone 7 actually kills the iPhone and BlackBerry, which isn’t going to happen.

Microsoft has never been cool, has never had good taste, but their lack of cool and lack of taste are spiraling out of control.

Lanyrd — ‘The Social Conference Directory’ 

Speaking of Dopplr, Simon Willison and Natalie Downe have launched Lanyrd, which is sort of like Dopplr but focused on one very specific thing: conferences. Interesting. See more on their weblog.

Remember Dopplr? 

Jemima Kiss on the result of Nokia’s 2009 acquisition of Dopplr.

Gartner Predicts Mobile OS Market Share 

Lots of people apparently think it’s a big deal that Gartner is predicting Android will surpass iOS for second place. But why is that necessarily a good thing, given that they’re predicting Symbian will remain in first place? Who thinks Symbian is actually doing well? Nokia’s board sure doesn’t. Raw market share is not the game here. (Maybe raw market share is everything Google is after with Android, considering they’re giving it away for free. But it’s certainly not what Apple’s after.)

Nice Column by The Macalope 

The Macalope:

Android’s popular, there’s no denying that, but at what price comes popularity when you wake up in a strange hotel room with your arm around Bing?

Manton Reece Hopes iAd Fails 

Manton Reece:

I don’t want to see ads in my apps, and I don’t want Apple to ever lose even a little of what it means to be a product-driven company.

I like this tweet Manton quotes from Petteri Hiisilä:

If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you are the product being sold.

Update: This Metafilter comment is apparently the source for that quote.


My thanks to Icongoods for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Icongoods has a great new line of t-shirts, featuring “glyphish” icons by Joseph Wain. They’re printed on American Apparel t-shirts, and look great: clever and stylish. Better yet: visit using this URL for DF readers and save 20 percent on your entire order.

Apple to Discontinue Free iPhone Bumper Case Program on September 30 


We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought. A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.

In other words: if you’re having antenna problems, you can still get a free Apple Bumper, but they’re going to stop giving them out to everyone who buys an iPhone 4. (Via Jim Dalrymple.)

Thomas vs. Weaver 

It’s Miller Time over here in the Layer Tennis commentators booth, where I just finished writing about today’s match between Scott Thomas and Mark Weaver. I don’t want to gush, but I loved this match. If you missed it live, you should go through it now. Both beautiful and thoughtful. You can’t ask for more.

(Where by “Miller Time”, I mean “Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA Time”.)

‘Being Geek’ 

My friend Michael Lopp’s new book is out, and it’s terrific: Being Geek, “the software developer’s career handbook”. Want to know how to cultivate a thriving career as a developer in this industry? Listen to Lopp.

Get the print edition from Amazon; get the e-book (or e-book plus print) from O’Reilly.

Anthony Williams on dConstruct 2010 

Astute summary of a terrific conference.

Dan Frommer: ‘Nokia Makes the Same Mistake Again: Hires a Manager, Not a Product Visionary’ 


Bloomberg: JPMorgan Testing iPhone and Android as BlackBerry Alternatives 


JPMorgan Chase & Co. may soon let employees use iPhones for corporate e-mail, making it an alternative to Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry at the bank for the first time, two people familiar with the situation said.

Battle of the Buttons, Indeed 

Michael Robertson, back in June 2007:

The current phone I carry is the Nokia e61i which compares very favorably with the iPhone. It’s shipping now and comes with 51 distinct physical buttons - the opposite design of the iPhone. Nokia is the #1 mobile phone manufacturer in the world and has sold more than twice as many phones in the most recent quarter as the 2nd largest company, Motorola. If buttons had no value why would Nokia use them?

Vintage 2008 Claim Chowder: Nokia Launches ‘iPhone Killer’ N97 Phone 

Good times, good times:

The Finnish mobile phone giant has dubbed its new N97 handset the “world’s most advanced mobile computer”, and promises it will bring users closer to the internet on the move.

Nokia Names Microsoft Executive as New CEO 

Christopher Lawton and Gustav Sandstrom, reporting for the WSJ:

Nokia Corp. said it was replacing embattled Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with Microsoft Corp.’s Stephen Elop, as the world’s largest handset maker seeks to reverse steep declines in earnings and market share that have decimated its share price. [...]

Mr. Elop’s main task will be to develop a credible challenger to Apple Inc.’s iPhone, something Mr. Kallasvuo failed to achieve during his four-year tenure. Many analysts feel that Nokia was caught flat-footed by the iPhone’s success and blame its weakness in smartphones for shaving about 70% off of Nokia’s market value over the past three years.

I suppose the other analysts — the ones who don’t think the iPhone caught Nokia flat-footed — moonlight as dentists who recommend sugared chewing gum.

Vox Shutting Down 

I couldn’t decide between a “Did you know Vox is still around?” joke or a “Did you know Six Apart is still around?” joke.

Layer Tennis, This Friday: Scott Thomas vs. Mark Weaver 

With commentary from yours truly. From my match preview:

On the one side, serving to begin the match, Scott Thomas, best known for his work as Design Director for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign — a campaign which established one of the strongest visual identities of the last decade, and, arguably, the most distinctive in U.S. political history. On the other side, playing the even-numbered volleys, designer/illustrator Mark Weaver. Both are first-time Layer Tennis competitors, but, intriguingly, Weaver’s wonderful “Make Something Cool Every Day” project strikes me as being about as close to Layer Tennis practice as one can get.

And when they say this week’s “who goes first?” toss is the Citizen Kane of coin flips, they ain’t kidding.

The Talk Show, Episode 7 

The only podcast you’ll hear featuring Dan Benjamin and me talking about Twitter client UI design (including the new Twitter for iPad) and Apple’s new lineup of iPods. And: Blade Runner. Sponsored this week, once again, by the geniuses at Instapaper.

MG Siegler on Android’s Openness 

MG Siegler:

In the post, I posed a question: if it’s not the iPhone/AT&T deal, why do you choose Android? Nearly 1,000 people responded, and a large percentage focused on the same idea: the idea of “openness.”

You’ll forgive me, but I have to say it: what a load of crap.

New in iOS 4.1: Keyboard Accessibility for VoiceOver 

iOS accessibility keeps getting better:

Now a VO user can pair a bluetooth keyboard to their iDevice and not only use it to type and edit text, but also completely navigate and operate the device from the keyboard as well.

(Thanks to Joe Clark.)

Your Lying Pants 

Abram Sauer, writing for Esquire, on “vanity sizing” in pants waistlines.

Google, on Apple’s Updated Mobile Advertising Guidelines 


Apple’s new terms will keep in-app advertising on the iPhone open to many different mobile ad competitors and enable advertising solutions that operate across a wide range of platforms.

Statement by Apple on App Store Review Guidelines 

Big changes to the App Store guidelines from Apple:

We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.

In addition, for the first time we are publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store.

Great news for developers, really. I’ll have details in a bit, but in short, they’ve relented regarding the ban on third-party development tools, and they’re promising greater transparency on the review process.

FAAN Walk for Food Allergy 

My wife is doing something pretty awesome, raising money for a cause that means a lot to our family, and you can help her out.

Game Center Apps Starting to Appear 

A list in the Touch Arcade forums.

Update: There’s now a dedicated Game Center section in the App Store.

Dan Moren on iOS 4.1 

Now available for download in iTunes.

Speculation of the Day: Oracle Buys Dell, Gives It to Hurd to Run 

No idea if there’s anything to it, but it sure is fun to think about.

‘The Making of a Masterpiece’ (Flash) 

Douglas Trumbull is working on a documentary on the making of the greatest movie ever made. Second one down, under “All Videos”. And Blade Runner fans will want to check this one out, too. (Via Jim Coudal, of course.)


The end of an era: is now a redirect to CNet’s

Engadget’s New iPod Touch Review 

Joshua Topolsky:

The new touch isn’t magical or revolutionary, or even unfamiliar. What it is, however, is a product without a peer; a media player that does far more than media playing.

Looks like the embargo on reviews for the new iPod lineup has lifted. Examples: Businessweek, PC Mag, Macworld, The Loop, and Slashgear.

Oh, and how can I forget Gizmodo’s ever-salient coverage?

iTunes 10 Allows You to Play Media From Any Connected iPod 

Great tip from Seth Weintraub.

Oracle Responds to HP Lawsuit 

Larry Ellison:

“Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner. By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The HP Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace.”

You can just tell he’s loving this.

Dumb-Dumb of the Week 

Ben Kunz, writing for Bloomberg Businessweek on “How Apple plays the pricing game”:

The popular iPod Touch media player has been revamped at three price points — $229, $299, and $399 — all costing more than the iPhone, which does everything the Touch can plus make phone calls.

What gives? Watch Apple, and you can learn pricing tricks for your own business.

I’m sure the expensive two-year AT&T contract for the iPhone has nothing to do with its price.

Dan Frakes Reviews the New iPod Nano 

Dan Frakes:

The big question, for me, is why the nano’s screen had to be so small. Given the existence of the iPod shuffle, there doesn’t seem to have been a compelling need for another as-small-as-we-can-make-it iPod, and a slightly larger design would have allowed for a larger screen. For example, a rectangular nano—perhaps the same width, just a bit longer, with a screen similar in size to that of the 5G nano—would have been considerably more useful, allowing you to view at least five items on the screen at a time, instead of three and a half, perhaps with enough room left over for more onscreen navigational aids.

New Demo of Google TV 

Skip to the 32:00 mark. Looks like it wants to be used with a hardware keyboard and a mouse or trackpad. Very, very different approach than Apple TV.

Leaked Photos of Purported Upcoming 7-Inch Android Tablet From HP 

Nilay Patel on the purportedly imminent HP Zeen, a 7-inch tablet that, according to Engadget’s sources, will only be available in a bundle with a printer (WTF?):

As we’d guessed, there’s also no Gmail app or Market access, although there is a homegrown email client and a fair bit of integration with Yahoo services like Mail and Messenger.

Yeah, who wants apps anyway?

Note to Thieves: ‘Find My iPhone’ Works 

Guy steals two iPhones from a Madison, Wisconsin Apple Store; police catch him in short order, thanks to Find My iPhone.

Matt Buchanan on Verizon’s Samsung Fascinate Lightning 

Matt Buchanan:

Verizon, unfortunately, is also what ruins the phone. Or, rather, what it’s forced Samsung to do to the phone, which you could sum up in a word: Bing. Bing is the default—and only—search engine on the Fascinate. A Google Android phone. In the search widget, in the browser, when you press the search button. Bing. No, you can’t change it. There’s no setting for it, and the Google Search widget that you can snag from the Market is blocked (or at least very carefully hidden). Being unwittingly forced into Verizon and Bing’s conjugal relationship is infuriating on its own, but the implementation also feels like the sloppy hack that it is. The co-branded Bing/Verizon portal that an in-browser search takes you to is ripped from the circa-2005 dumbphone-approved “internet,” while the Bing Maps app that it pushes you toward is vastly inferior to Google Maps (no multitouch, Latitude, etc.).

Android is “open”, but who it’s open for, primarily, are the carriers. (Somehow I doubt we’ll see any Windows Phone 7 devices where Google is the one and only search option.)

Richard M. Daley Won’t Run for Re-Election as Mayor of Chicago 


Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley dropped something of a political bombshell Tuesday announcing he won’t run for re-election next year for personal reasons.

Daley has been mayor since 1989 and could probably have been mayor for life like his father, the legendary Richard J. Daley who actually died at his desk in City Hall.

Two words for you: Mayor Blagojevich.

HP Sues Hurd After Taking Job at Oracle 

The WSJ:

Hewlett-Packard Co. sued former Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd a day after he was named co-president of rival Oracle Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

The suit was filed in Superior Court of California in Santa Clara, according to the people familiar with the matter. The contents of the suit weren’t clear but a person familiar with the suit said it centered around a confidentiality provision in Mr. Hurd’s exit agreement from H-P.

Just keeps getting better.

Domestic Conflict, Explained by Stock Photos 

“Kevin Nguyen imagines the backstories behind the stock photos he found of couples fighting.” (Via Jim Coudal.)


New $2 iPhone app from Justin Williams at Second Gear; lets you compose HTML email messages using Markdown.

Fuck the South 

A classic from 2004, still relevant as we head into election season.

Mark Hurd Joins Oracle as Co-President 

Ashlee Vance, reporting for the NYT:

In naming Mark V. Hurd, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, as Oracle’s new co-president, Lawrence J. Ellison, Oracle’s chief executive and largest shareholder, really has put his money where his controversial mouth is.

I’ll bet Oracle throws one hell of an executive Christmas party.

What’s New in iOS 4.1 

Detailed list from Mark Gurman at 9 to 5 Mac.

Brilliant Star Wars Posters by Andy Helms 

Clever pattern, and extra points for using the Millennium Falcon twice. (Via Guy English.)

Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab Going to Be Expensive? 

Apple gets knocked for making expensive kit, but the truth is, no one else can seem to match them. This, I think, is why no one can make a true iPod Touch competitor. If the Galaxy Tab is really going to retail for around $1,000, the iPad is safe too.

How Many iPod Touches Have Been Sold to Date? 

Horace Dediu estimates around 38 percent of all iOS devices sold to date. This is why I’m surprised, at least slightly, that there aren’t more iPod Touch competitors.

Felt Tip Inc. 

My thanks to Felt Tip Inc. for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their excellent iOS apps for fitness management. Couch to 5k helps you train to run a 5k, using a tested 9-week workout program based on intervals. Food Diary makes it easy to follow the simple equation: burn more calories than you consume, and you’ll lose weight. Both apps sport great UIs, and are available on the App Store.

Apple Promo Page for iOS 4.2 for iPad 

November can’t get here soon enough.

Where Are the iPod Touch Knockoffs? 

Horace Dediu:

So the question is why is the iPad being cloned while the iPod has remained in the market by itself?

I’ve been asking for years. Still no such thing.

iTunes 10 Breaks Automator Integration 

Christopher Breen:

An unexpected change is that iTunes Automator actions no longer load. This affects both existing workflows created for an earlier version of iTunes as well as any workflows you create with iTunes 10 installed. Those existing workflows simply won’t execute. And if you attempt to create new workflows that include iTunes actions, you’ll discover that the iTunes actions don’t appear in the actions library if you’ve installed iTunes 10.

That Skype for Android Update That Purportedly Worked Over Wi-Fi? Not So Fast 

Still tied to Verizon’s 3G network — your Wi-Fi connection doesn’t disconnect while using the app, but Skype doesn’t actually use it. Sounds great.

CRN: ‘Samsung Vows Allegiance to Google Android’ 


And while Samsung also expects to leverage its own software, called bada, in future devices as well, it’s putting the majority of its eggs in the Android basket, as Android’s popularity continues to snowball with other device makers like Motorola and HTC hitching their device wagons to Google Android.

That wasn’t the tune Samsung was singing about Bada last year.

Steve Jobs on Why Ping Doesn’t Integrate With Facebook 

Kara Swisher:

And Facebook is nowhere on Ping, either. Currently, there is no linking, sharing or participation of any kind with Facebook–or Twitter or MySpace–on Ping, which will work only on the iTunes software on computers, iPhones and iPods.

When I asked Jobs about that, he said Apple had indeed held talks with Facebook about a variety of unspecified partnerships related to Ping, but the discussions went nowhere.

The reason, according to Jobs: Facebook wanted “onerous terms that we could not agree to.”

Tim Bray on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 

Give Samsung credit: their debut Android tablet is not a clone of the iPad. Smaller and lighter, if it has an advantage, it’s that you can hold it in one hand for reading. Bray has links to coverage elsewhere, too.

Skype Mobile for Android Now Works Over WiFi, But Still Verizon-Only 

Android is open, but more open on Verizon.

Put Up or Shut Up 

Roger Ebert:

Our political immune system has only one antibody, and that is the truth.

Roku vs. Apple TV 

If you’re mainly interested in Netflix streaming, I can’t see buying one of these over an Apple TV. Am I missing something?

Roku does have other content, like, for example, And the Apple TV doesn’t have an API for an App Store. But: what if Apple opens up AirPlay to iPhone and iPad apps? Then the iPhone/iPad MLB At Bat app could stream video to the Apple TV.

The Talk Show #6: Today’s Apple Event 

Recorded this afternoon, soon after the end of today’s Apple event, Dan Benjamin and I discuss each of the big announcements. Lots to talk about.

This episode was sponsored by Instapaper. If you’re not using Instapaper, shame on you.

Free Demo Version of Epic Citadel 

This is the game Epic demoed during today’s event. Impressive as hell.

New iPod Touch Tech Specs 

From Apple’s tech specs for the cameras:

Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still photos (960 × 720) with back camera.

So it’s not the same camera as the iPhone 4. It does do still photos, but they’re under one megapixel in resolution. Not surprising, though — there’s way less room in the thin frame of the Touch.

Claim Chowder: Engadget and iTV 

Josh Topolsky, three weeks ago:

Oh, and there’s one more thing — Apple will be officially changing the name of the device to iTV, abandoning the current moniker in favor of something a little more in line with its current iOfferings.

Not so much.

Furthermore, the device will be getting apps and presumably an App Store entry, though it’s unclear if there will be cross-pollination between iPad and iPhone / iPod touch offerings and new Apple TV applications

Not so much there, either. The device is running iOS, though, trust me. So it’s possible that some sort of SDK is coming in the future. But I’m not going to hold my breath. Judging from the demo today, I think the fact that it’s running iOS under the hood is just an implementation detail.

An iPhone App Developer’s Diary 

Joshua Benton, on developing the Nieman Journalism Lab’s free iPhone app using TapLynx.

Stay 1.0 

Clever $15 utility for Mac OS X from Cordless Dog:

If you’re fastidious about keeping your windows tidy, Stay is for you. Stay ensures that your windows are always where you want them to be, even as you connect and disconnect displays.

Arnold Kim on Workarounds for Watching Apple’s Live Video Stream 

Arnold Kim:

For non-supported readers who are desperate to watch the stream close to live, it seems likely that you will be able to watch it — at least in stops and starts. The HTTP Live Stream protocol is based on very standard technologies. The stream is simply provided in an MPEG2 playlist (m3u file) that is added to as the stream continues. These standard playlists will load in VLC for both Mac and Windows.

‘The Wilderness Downtown’ 

Technically fascinating, emotionally moving interactive “video” by Chris Milk for Arcade Fire’s new single, “We Used to Wait”. All HTML5, not a lick of Flash; try it in Chrome or Safari 5. Nice write-up about it here at the Chome Experiments site.

HTTP Live Streaming Spec at IETF 

There are some raised eyebrows today regarding Apple’s claim that their live streaming for today’s event is “based on open standards”, but only available for Mac OS X 10.6 and iOS users. It’s a damn shame that Windows users can’t watch it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an open standard. Maybe “proposed open standard” would be more apt, though.

Lots of speculation from readers via email, by the way, that the live streaming of the event is going to be part of the event itself — that Apple is going to announce high-fidelity live video streaming as a major new feature for Apple TV, Macs, and iOS devices.

Update: Email from a self-described “IETF weenie”: is not a proposed open standard. At the top of the document, it says “Intended status: Informational”. That means that the IETF will have no control over the content; only the authors do. This is actually a pretty important distinction.

Worth Watching Again: Kevin Tofel’s Demo of Flash on a Nexus One 

Same video I linked to from Ian Betteridge yesterday, but, watching it again today, what I notice isn’t just the appalling video frame rate (“seconds per frame, not frames per second”, as Tofel says), but also how drastically Flash content affects scrolling and touch events in the browser itself. Even before any Flash content is loaded, these web pages scroll with jaggy animation, and touch events don’t register immediately. Unresponsive scrolling and taps are unacceptable.

Back When Apple Previously Streamed Video From an Announcement 

July 2002:

Approximately 50,000 people used QuickTime® to watch Apple’s July 17 live webcast of Steve Jobs’ Macworld New York 2002 keynote, which was simulcast in both QuickTime 5 and QuickTime 6.

Going to be a lot more than 50,000 today.