learning curve

iPhoto rounded out the iLife suite for iOS when it dropped earlier this month. Since debuting, it’s been met with a fair share of criticism concerning quirky interfaces and a higher than average level of complexity for an iOS app. As far as functionality is concerned, iPhoto is a capable app, but its usability seems under par among some of its iOS peers.

We’re left with the question, is it ok for iPhoto to have a learning curve? It does have great in-app help and tooltips, so it isn’t out of reach for someone to get well acquainted with its interfaces. Is that enough? Does the app really bring some new functionality that necessitates an interface that demands a little more investment from its users?

It’s possible that iPhoto is unnecessarily complicated. There are other photo editing apps for iOS that have had more positive critical reception. But at what point is it okay for developers to release somewhat more complex software for iOS?

There are many applications running on computers today that are beyond the usability scope for an average user. For example, I don’t have the first clue how to get up and running in Pro Tools or AutoCAD. Granted, we don’t all need to master a studio album or blueprint some schematics. Certainly a larger number of people want great photo retouching tools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean iPhoto has an infinitely varied target user.

It’s left to developers to strike a balance between maintaining high usability standards that delight our target audience, and realizing the full potential of the tasks we can address with newer computing platforms. iOS has made this huge leap in smoothing the rough edges of using a computer, and subsequently many people have drawn a conclusion about what is an acceptable level of complexity for its software. But lets not let this artificial constraint hold back the possibilities that the platform can help us realize.

hardware updates and lukewarm reactions

Louie Mantia:

So buy the new iPad. Or don’t and wait for the next one. No one cares.

star trek fan film from 1978

It’s hard to imagine the effort it would have taken a few kids to put this together before the advent of computers. And Dave is right, the fight scenes are surprisingly well choreographed, even by the standards of the actual show. (via Dave Caolo)

“curator’s code”

The via/credit hubbub has come around the Internet again, as it often does. I think Sean Sperte’s take from the last time is still a succinct, poignant viewpoint on the topic:

The way I see it, I should credit the original author or creator of a work, without question.

Otherwise, I’m not going to go out of my way to credit someone for merely passing on a link. (It’s the internet, after all. It’s made of links.)

photo stream deletion

After iOS 5.0 dropped in October I wrote about some glaring issues with Photo Stream that I had assumed would have been fixed when 5.0 came out of beta:

  1. It makes the assumption that every picture taken or saved, along with all your screen grabs, deserves a place in the cloud.
  2. Given that assumption, it still provides no way to delete those one-off images individually from the stream.

I’m happy to say as of 5.1 this is finally addressed. You can now delete photos from your Photo Stream which will propagate to all your connected devices. Photo Stream is far more useful having the ability to delete files.

One small caveat, this appears to only be true of Photo Stream images taken after installing 5.1. Deleting older images from my iPhone alerted me that the file would only be deleted from “the Photo Stream on this iPhone”. I decided to make a clean break and delete my entire stream using the iCloud web interface.


Sean tells the story of Sky Balloon’s iPad browser that hit the cutting room floor. Being preempted by Mobile Safari proved we were on the right track, but we bit off a little more than we could chew.

@skoda on App.net @technochocolate on App.net