do not anger the alpha android

From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans.

A shining pinnacle of openness. (via Daring Fireball)

google makes a +1 button

It boggles my mind how out of touch Google is. Can I get a +1?

broken ios icons

Neven Mrgan points out one of my biggest annoyances with iOS icons that seems to be increasingly prevalent.

the best computer

A few years ago I had a burgeoning interest in photography. As I researched the websites and listened to the podcasts requisite with developing my new hobby, I kept coming across a common phrase. “The best camera is the one you have with you.” It seems to be an axiom of photography. You don’t always have your two pound DSLR on hand, and it just so happens that you can’t take a photograph without a camera. Therefore, if you find a moment in time worth capturing, whatever camera you have with you is the right one for the job.

Extrapolating the same concept beyond photography, the best computer is the one you have with you. These days that tends to be my iPhone. On top of being the camera that is always with me, here are a few things it helps me do:

  • Pay my bills.
  • Read a book.
  • Book a flight.
  • Paint a picture.
  • Tune my guitar.
  • Make a video call.
  • Listen to my music.
  • Launch birds at pigs.
  • Wake me up on time.
  • Create a photo album.
  • Share a clever anecdote.
  • Write a post on my blog.
  • Find the nearest Starbucks.
  • Pay for that Starbucks latte.
  • Beat my friends at Scrabble.
  • Stream a movie or TV show.
  • Broadcast a live video stream.
  • Make a restaurant reservation.
  • Subscribe and listen to podcasts.
  • Share a grocery list with my wife.
  • Get directions to a friend’s house.
  • Add someone to my address book.
  • Tell me which direction I’m facing.
  • Find out what my friends are doing.
  • Record, edit, and share a short film.
  • Check the tasklist on my latest project.
  • Remind me of meetings in my schedule.
  • See new posts from my favorite websites.
  • Tune into a custom internet radio station.
  • Find out how much money I have in the bank.
  • Share a photo on my favorite social networks.
  • See how many people are visiting my website.
  • Get to those articles I’ve been meaning to read.

I could go on.

I’m not generating sales presentations or writing books on my iPhone (although, neither is strictly impossible), but I can quickly and easily do more things with this phone than any computer I’ve ever used. This phone that stays on all day long, continuously connected to the internet, and fits in my pocket.

The iPhone is the most useful computer in the world.

my via code of conduct

Attention is big money on the web. Many people are making their living sharing and editorializing the things they find online. Your sophomore english teacher liked to see your sources, and we would too.

As far as I’m concerned, everything you post a link to should contain a via reference with two exceptions:

  1. You saw the linked content in your RSS feed, from performing a search, or navigating directly to the linked website by entering the URL.
  2. The person who provided you the link prefers not to be referenced or doesn’t have an address where you can send people their way (and even then, you could still give a shout-out).

Otherwise, there is really no excuse. You either followed a link on someone else’s site or twitter feed, or you were suggested through an email, SMS, or instant message.

Some people really count on that attention for their livelihood. You should give it to them.

china grants apple eleven patents

Wait a second… isn’t the real news here that China has patents? Since when has China had regard for intellectual property?

ipad, for everything else

Marco Arment of Tumblr and Instapaper fame recently posted an article entitled Moving on from iPad “office productivity” apps. Trying to boil down the article doesn’t really do it justice, but he basically states that Apple, having touted the first iPad as a viable “office productivity” device, has now taken a 180 degree turn to focus on “casual media creation.”

Apple’s introduction of the iWork suite of apps with the original iPad wasn’t a declaration of the purpose of the device. It met a need to bring editing functionality to some key document types, but they never supposed that people would be writing their TPS reports on an iPad while they suffer from a case of the Mondays. What Steve Jobs sold us with the first iPad, was the idea that this new tablet had to do certain things better than a computer. You might recall that he left word processing and spreadsheets off that list. iWork was simply the software best suited to debut the platform as more than a plaything, and it sent a clear message.

But even as Apple moves into releasing more of the iLife, casual media creation apps that hallmarked the Mac, they aren’t doing it to fall in step with how people actually want to use the iPad. They’re simply creating what they love. They didn’t create GarageBand and iMovie to convince the world of the value of an iPad. They created software that they want to use, and that’s what makes it so good (and why Instapaper is so good). Was there ever any doubt that both iWork and iLife would eventually find their way onto whatever tablet Apple dreamed up? The effort they put into making the best platforms and hardware only exists as it enables them to make better software.

Apple isn’t looking to find the “sweet spot for the iPad’s usage.” With the Mac, most of the software an average consumer wants to use comes standard. But the iPad is about more than meeting the needs of the status quo. Don’t believe me? Watch Apple’s iPad: Year One video. This is where Apple sees the iPad, filling every little niche where a traditional PC is clumsy or unworkable. Apple made a computer that you can fit into any arena or scenario. Not only is there no right or wrong way to hold the device, but there’s no right or wrong task to give it. Yes, the device has technical limitations, but over time it will be computationally just as capable of any task desktop computers do today.

Graphical user interfaces brought computers a big step forward, masking the underlying technology, and bringing the software closer to the user. But it wasn’t emphatically better suited to every computing operation. There are still many tasks that are keyboard-centric, which get only marginal improvement from a GUI environment. Even today, many power users feel slowed down by mice, windows, and file explorers, and lean heavily on keyboard driven commands and shortcuts. Apple doesn’t think the keyboard is irrelevant. The iPad simply proposes that it’s less relevant.

So we have tasks well suited to command-line terminals, tasks well suited to our present desktop and laptop machines, and we will see that many, if not most, tasks benefit from this new leap onto the multi-touch interface. The question isn’t, what tasks does Apple think the iPad is suited for, it’s, what do you want your iPad to do?

iphoto for ios

Neven Mrgan wrote a post with some speculation about iPhoto and iLife based on what we’ve recently seen with iMovie and GarageBand for iPad. He also had a very positive reaction to GarageBand.

GarageBand in particular is a simply phenomenal app, going well above and beyond most people’s expectations for a creative/consumer app on a tablet. It’s not perfect, but nothing is; given that this is, in a way, a 1.0 release (few ideas from GarageBand for the Mac are reused) I wouldn’t hesitate calling it perhaps the most impressive 1.0 I’ve seen… ever.

I might go so far as to say GarageBand is one of the best pieces of consumer software I’ve ever seen. If this is what the future of iOS software looks like, competitors have a very long way to go.

some early garageband demos

Just playing around with GarageBand briefly, I know people are going to make some really cool stuff with this. Here are some of the first videos I’ve found on YouTube of people using it with at least some level of success.

garageband for ipad

If you are any kind of musician, or would like to be, and you have an iPad, you will want to try this. The touch instruments are so well done, and it’s really fun to play around with. Well worth the $4.99 pricetag.


Some delightful thoughts about what the internet means for community and relationships from Aaron Mahnke.

method & craft

“The DVD extras of design.” It looks awesome. I’m still browsing around, but there is tons of good behind the scenes stuff from some of the web’s best design gurus.

server attention span

This highlights one of the biggest problems browsing on an iPhone or iPad. Really wish web designers would get a clue how to appropriately target mobile devices.

updated archive

In case you haven’t clicked around in a while… When I switched to WordPress I worked a little bit on updating the site archive. Firstly, I added a Google site-search field, as that ended up being the way that I most often search for old posts. Also, I’ve put a list of the most high-traffic pages for quick reference or browsing for people not familiar with the site. Hopefully it’s a little more useful than it has been.

ipad part deux

If the iPad weren’t in a strong enough position to hold off the competition prior to Apple’s announcement today, it is now. With faster processing, cameras, a further untouchable aesthetic, and a hugely more vibrant software environment than any comparable platform (Flash or no Flash), the iPad 2 has made sure anyone trying to get in on the tablet game is more than a year behind. Meanwhile, Apple is undoubtedly forging ahead on iPad 3.

While most of the changes were expected, if not modest, it’s a very solid update to an already runaway success. I seem to share the sentiment of many in the tech community that it’s not a necessary upgrade for many current iPad owners, myself included. But it certainly does sweeten the deal for those who were on the fence.

Oddly the most magical thing they presented today was the optional cover. It’s something that shows up in Apple products from time to time, a feat of apparent genius that Jony Ive calls a “well considered solution.” And somehow, magnets are often involved. In a solution similar to the MagSafe connector and the latch-less MacBook latch, they’ve overcome the bulk and clumsiness of iPad cases with one fell-swoop. If Apple’s demonstration video isn’t enough, hands on reports suggest it is all it’s cracked up to be.

Unless your iPad is your principle computing device, upgrading to an iPad 2 is likely unnecessary, but if you have been considering picking up a tablet this is a great time to take the plunge.

hello wordpress

Hi everybody, technochocolate is now on WordPress. Expression Engine has served me well the last two or so years, but I was too far behind to upgrade (without paying for it). And being as I’m still working towards making a cumulative $10 from the site, I couldn’t really justify paying for a license.

Oh well, I’m actually kind of digging WordPress. I already feel like I know more about what is going on behind the scenes than I did with EE. That might sound wrong, don’t I want the platform to be easy? Yeah, but I’m a programmer, so having a better understanding of the platform means I can make updates with less frustration. I’ve brushed up on my php, and I’m ready to go.

I apologize to feed subscribers if your reader suddenly shows 15 old posts as new ones. That seems to happen every time someone changes the format of their feed. Hopefully it won’t happen again for a very long time.

Anyways, I’m excited for the Apple event tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to share any thoughts in the coming days.

@skoda on @technochocolate on