Steve Jobs

6th of October, 2011

Most of use have been profoundly affected by his life's work in one way or another, but I quite literally owe my career to his. Thanks, Steve.

iPhone 4S and iOS 5

4th of October, 2011

The 4S is a pretty nice update to the iPhone 4, but iOS 5 is where the real magic is. I've been using the beta on my main, non-development phone for months now, and despite having to deal with some incredibly annoying bugs and a raft of broken apps, never once considered reverting to iOS 4.

CharMap 1.2

14th of March, 2011

CharMap 1.2 is now available on the App Store!

New features and changes include:

  • A dedicated font viewer (with font previews)
  • Enable and disable the system-wide Emoji keyboard
  • You can now filter sections using a search bar, which greatly simplifies navigation
  • The settings tab has been completely overhauled to make more sense
  • Some new icons and tweaks to the existing graphics
  • Performance improvements when viewing fonts

App Store Subscriptions

4th of March, 2011

Marco Arment in response to John Gruber:

Developers are being shown that their apps — and their months or years of hard work, and in many cases, their entire businesses — can be yanked by Apple's whim at any time for reasons that they couldn't have anticipated or avoided. This invokes fear and anger from many, and I think most of the “30% is too much” arguing is a misdirected side effect of this frustration not at the number itself, but at the seemingly arbitrary and greedy nature of the rule.

Well said. For the record, I'm almost certain Apple will tinker with the subscription policy before the June 30th deadline to officially exempt services1 from the rule. That aside, it's still a troubling precedent which leaves the door open to further abrupt rule changes — what if Apple decides that they're entitled to 30% of all ad revenue, or simply outlaw third-party ad providers altogether?2 Plenty of people seem to think they'd never go that far, but nobody really expected them to demand 30% of all subscription revenue, along with mandated price-matching.

  1. Jobs said as much in a characteristically thrifty email, but nothing's been made official. Also, if they do make certain exceptions, how are they going to delineate content subscriptions (National Geographic) from service subscriptions (Dropbox)? If they never intended to include paid services in the new rules, why not say so from the start?

  2. Realistically speaking, they'd have to ban other ad providers: it's the only enforceable solution.

Lion Beta

24th of February, 2011

Alongside the speedier, aesthetically unchanged Macbook Pro line, Apple also seeded a beta of Lion to developers with a couple of unannounced changes:

  • a new version of Mail, with an elegant, widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; Conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one easy to read timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010;
  • AirDrop, a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup;
  • Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions;
  • Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
  • Auto Save, which automatically saves your documents as you work; the all new FileVault, that provides high performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from your Mac instantaneously; and
  • Mac OS X Lion Server, which makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

All good stuff, but “Resume” is the most interesting — that stuff's straight out of iOS 4, and could be incredibly useful with an SSD.

The Pilcrow

21st of February, 2011

If you've ever wondered what the hell a Pilcrow (¶) is, Shady Characters gives a comprehensive history:

The pilcrow is not just some typographic curiosity, useful only for livening up a coffee-table book on graphic design or pointing the way to a paragraph in a mortgage deed, but a living, breathing character with its roots in the earliest days of punctuation. Born in ancient Rome, refined in medieval scriptoria, appropriated by England's most famous modern typographer and finally rehabilitated by the personal computer, the story of the pilcrow is intertwined with the evolution of modern writing. It is the quintessential shady character.

The whole thing is worth reading, especially for typography enthusiasts.

Eric Schmidt

20th of January, 2011

I'm with M.G. Siegler. Google's been subjected to a lot of pointed criticism from numerous quarters lately — some gripes are more valid than others, it should be said — and a change in leadership might be just what's needed to refocus the company. I don't know if Larry Page believes Google should be more conservative with what they release, if he recognises that search is losing the fight against spam, or if he thinks Android would benefit from more focus and discipline. In my opinion, these have all been substantial company problems that have festered over the last year, and I sincerely hope Page has a plan to address them. I guess time will tell.