Well done. Read this, then take the 5 minutes to learn Markdown.
Well done. Read this, then take the 5 minutes to learn Markdown.
A pretty clever use of Lion’s versioning system. I like it.
Tom Schoenberg for Bloomberg:
In the complaint filed today in federal court in Washington, the U.S. is seeking a declaration that Dallas-based AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), would violate U.S. antitrust law. The U.S. also asked for a court order blocking any arrangement implementing the deal.
Total penalties to AT&T if the merger does not go through? Round-about $7 billion.1
3 in cash alone. ↩
Listening to the latest episode of Hypercritical (#31), John Siracusa added some really great thoughts to HP’s current strategy of spinning off the PC division. He looks at the move from the perspective of Microsoft. It’s an interesting perspective since Microsoft now has one of its largest (if not its largest) Windows OS buyers wanting […]
Listening to the latest episode of Hypercritical (#31), John Siracusa added some really great thoughts to HP’s current strategy of spinning off the PC division.
He looks at the move from the perspective of Microsoft.
It’s an interesting perspective since Microsoft now has one of its largest (if not its largest) Windows OS buyers wanting to exit the game, because it is no longer profitable for them to be in said game. Think about that for a minute — that is huge.
Siracusa makes the argument that continued consolidation among PC manufacturers would ultimately not be a good thing for Microsoft. To me his most interesting comments are about the hardware HP and others are currently producing: cheap crap (for the most part). Siracusa points out that the last time Microsoft saw this happening — with MP3 players — they made their own hardware (the Zune in this case) — and though it was too little too late, the hardware was actually pretty good.
I immediately had a thought.
What if Microsoft bought HP’s PC division to start producing their own hardware: the higher quality PC?
Ignore anti-trust concerns, monetary issues, and everything else — just think about this for a moment.
Microsoft has begun building Microsoft stores, they would have a nice, existing, retail presence. They have deals with all major retailers. They likely have more brand trust than any current PC maker.
In this scenario Microsoft wouldn’t become another me-too PC maker — they would be setting the standard. The standard for: price, quality, design, and speed.
This is not out of the realm of possibility — though it would be a risky move.
If Microsoft did do this and they decided that they wanted to make the best possible PC — something that competes directly with, say, MacBook Pros — wouldn’t that be an interesting change?
I don’t even think it is a market that Microsoft would have to be making more than 2-3 models of computers to be in just a laptop, desktop, and tablet. All Microsoft would need to do is make the best stuff a Windows user could buy and then sell it with a healthy profit margin. Doing that, by comparison to all other PC makers, would make all others look pretty bad — both to consumers and investors.
Certainly sales wouldn’t be robust at a higher price point, but it would prove a crucial point — a point that Microsoft really needs to prove — that Windows is not just the low-cost alternative.
Mike Vardy was kind enough to let me jump on his podcast this week. We talk about productivity and reacting versus being proactive.
Last week I asked on Twitter what everyone was using to edit code from FTP sites on their iPads. The overwhelming majority voted Textastic. However a few brave folks mentioned Koder. At first glance Koder caught my eye, but Textastic had such praise that I needed to buy and try them both. Before we can […]
Last week I asked on Twitter what everyone was using to edit code from FTP sites on their iPads. The overwhelming majority voted Textastic. However a few brave folks mentioned Koder.
At first glance Koder caught my eye, but Textastic had such praise that I needed to buy and try them both. Before we can get into the comparisons here is why I want such an app: for making quick CSS tweaks to this site when I am no where near my MacBook Air.1
My thinking is that if I can tweak the code here and there on my iPad, I can eventually take a trip with only my iPad and no worries about “what ifs”.
I need an app that will allow me to connect to my server, edit CSS/PHP/HTML files and save/commit the changes to the server.
Of the two apps Textastic ($9.99) offers the most basic iOS UI design and layout. There are three really great features in Textastic:
That’s the really great stuff, but the real question is not what is really great — no — it is always: how well does the app work. This is where a lot of personal preference is going to come into play, because while the app allows you to use TextExpander and does code highlighting, it is still no where near as robust as TextMate. Not that it needs to be as robust, but I did find with both apps that I was annoyed by a few things that TextMate does that these apps don’t do.
There is one thing about the core functionality of this app that I don’t like: the way you edit remote files. With Textastic you have to download the file to your iPad first and then you can edit the file. From there the app will sync the file back and forth easily with the remote host, but it means keeping a local copy of a bunch of similarly named files in a list to the left — which if that sounds confusion, well, you got the point. There is also this odd flipping behavior that the app does when you shift from local browsing to remote browsing that I could do without.
For me I would much prefer to be able to tap on a file and start editing it immediately without concern for whether the file is in sync or if the file is local or not. The app does a decent job of highlighting and has a nice soft wrap so that the user doesn’t need to scroll side to side.
The switching behavior and the need to download first is the most annoying aspect of this app.3
Koder ($5.99) takes a different approach and shows its colors as more than just an FTP based code editor. You can work with local files, FTP files, Dropbox files (Textastic supports this too), and iDisk files (not that this feature will be useful for much longer). Again the three best features of Koder:
Koder fits my working style much better than Textastic because I can just tap and get going. However the program does not have any kind of password protection, leading to security concerns — especially given that revealing the path of a file shows your FTP password in plain view — this is not good.
There is also a lack of soft line wraps, which will require you to scroll a lot side to side depending on the formatting of the file you are editing.
Koder does however offer a dark and light theme, something that Textastic does not offer.4 While I much prefer the light theme as the highlight colors of the dark theme are not in line with my personal tastes.
The custom keyboard in Koder is much different from Textastic’s. Where Textastic offers a lot more ‘quick’ access to common keys, Koder offers access just to a few of the likely keys and gives you arrows keys for navigation. One of the biggest differences between the functionality of code editing in the two apps is that Koder automatically inserts the open and close bracketing when you are editing. There is also a nice undo and redo set of buttons to help keep you from looking like a fool when you shake your iPad to ‘undo’ edits.
Lastly Koder does not offer TextExpander support — instead it chooses to have its own library of snippets that you can build in the app. It’s a toss up which method is better because at some point you have to create the snippets in either TextExpander or Koder. The advantage to Koder’s method is that you don’t need to remember expansion shortcuts, instead you just tap on the snippet that you want. Whereas the advantage to Textastic is that you may already have these snippets set, and at the very least could sync them to your iPad from your Mac.
If I was cramped for space I would pick Koder and call it a day. Even with the limitations of the app, I passcode protect my iPad and the extras that it offers in the form of permissions control and tabbed editing makes a better solution for what I am looking for.
Luckily I am not cramped for space so both of these apps will fill different needs from time to time. All Koder needs is a passcode lock and better line-wrapping and it would be the hands down winner.
Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand. We don’t know exactly when these units will be available or how many we’ll get, and we can’t promise we’ll have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase. See more information in the updated FAQs below.
I checked the FAQ they posted and they did not ask themselves: “Do you know what you are doing anymore?”
Clearly the answer has become: nope.
houthakker in the Mac OS X Tips Geeklets section:
It can be useful to glance at a key OmniFocus action list on the desktop, without having to fire up OmniFocus and choose a perspective. (A red Due Now list perhaps, or an orange Due Soon, or a context list, or simply the Inbox, as a spur to getting it clear). Here is an applescript which enables you to attach a range of customized list specifiers to one or more Geektool ‘windows’ (shell geeklets) at the same time.
Basically you can print a bunch of OmniFocus data to your desktop. The value? I don’t know, but is sure looks cool.1
Haven’t tested it yet, intend to this weekend. ↩
Paul Thurrott points out another odd thing about the Windows 8 Ribbon UI in Explorer:
The Microsoft post describing the new ribbon UI goes into great detail about telemetry data, which provides the company with information about what users are really using in Explorer and elsewhere in Windows. And according to that data, the top 10 commands represent over 81 percent of all commands used in Explorer. The bottom 18 percent of commands (by usage) include such things as Open, Edit (Menu), View Toggle, Organize, New Folder, Send To, and Edit. And yet, looking at a Microsoft screenshot of the new ribbon, what do I see in the default first tab? A bunch of commands–including Open and Edit, by the way–that are not in the 81 percent most-frequently used commands.
Shawn Blanc speculating on the Amazon Tablet:
If Amazon is going to make an inexpensive device that is backed by their brand and ecosystem, then why not make a better Kindle rather than a crappy tablet?
Shawn poses some very interesting questions and thoughts. That said I think he is wrong about the iPad 3 (or any iPad with a retina display) obviating the need for a dedicated reader like a Kindle.
Reason being that there are three (main) advantages that the Kindle has over the iPad (from my perspective as a Kindle owner):
To my eyes the resolution is a wash between the Kindle 2 and the iPad 2 — perhaps the Kindle 3 is better, but I doubt that this is the main concern. The Kindle screen looks like paper because it is reflective — not in the way that the iPad’s screen is reflective — and that makes a huge difference when you are reading and for the overall “feel” of the reader.
The biggest factor that makes me prefer my Kindle to the iPad? The weight, my arms don’t get tired and I can read laying in bed with the Kindle above my head — no problems.
Now having said all that there is one important distinction to be made: converting potential-iPad users and converting Kindle users. An iPad with a retina display would likely steer owners of neither device more towards the iPad, if they were even considering the iPad to begin with. However, if you are talking about converting a Kindle user to being an iPad user — you will need more than a retina display.
That said: retina display iPad please.
Marco Arment responds to my post about his Amazon Tablet speculation. What’s interesting to me is how he views the usage of iPads versus how I view that same usage. I would love to see more concrete data on this matter — so email me if you have some data on it.
One thing I can’t agree with is a tablet without a web browser — that just shouldn’t be called a tablet to begin with.
My guess is that Amazon launches a Kindle on steroids.
The best part of Arment’s response:
This is how the e-ink Kindle gets away with relatively poor interface design: most of the time, you’re seeing almost none of it.
That is a very good point.
Looks about right.
As if you needed another reason to steer clear of the “9to5” sites.
Tom Warren on Windows Explorer in Windows 8:
Essentially, Microsoft wants to optimise explorer for file management tasks whilst creating a streamlined command experience and keeping the user interface and heritage of previous versions of Windows.
From the screenshots it would appear they are taking the “more is more” approach to UI design.
There’s a strong possibility that I will regret this statement later, but: I don’t think the Amazon Tablet, as rumored, is going to sell very well — even with “Amazon front page Help”. Marco Arment argues that the Amazon Tablet will put battery life first, then price. Meaning it will be a crappy feeling product […]
There’s a strong possibility that I will regret this statement later, but: I don’t think the Amazon Tablet, as rumored, is going to sell very well — even with “Amazon front page Help”.
Marco Arment argues that the Amazon Tablet will put battery life first, then price. Meaning it will be a crappy feeling product that is thicker than an iPad and will just be a price competitor. That sounds… fantastic.
Dan Provost on the other hand is arguing that the Amazon Tablet should be something very special using some of the latest technology to make the ultimate tablet reading device. Likely this means tossing aside pricing and focusing on great hardware and software — I am not alone in saying Provost’s idea would be very compelling.
Both of these men are just speculating, but as far as speculation goes — I have real doubts about the market success of either product.
No matter what homepage you put either of these devices on — they are both doomed for failure as they have been outlined by Arment and Provost.
Arment theorizes that such a tablet would feel cheap, but because it is cheap it would sell like crazy:
Like the Kindle 3, it’s going to feel cheap, but most people won’t care, because it will be cheap.
Arment notes that with the exposure that Amazon would be giving it sales will be good (to say the least). I however don’t think that is the case — it certainly would sell more than any other iPad tablet we have seen thus far, but it won’t be a true iPad competitor.1
To understand why we need to understand what makes the iPad phenomenal from a users perspective: value. The iPad is not expensive — it isn’t cheap — ask anyone who has fallen in love with their iPad (shouldn’t be hard to find) and they will tell you the same thing when you ask them if the price is “worth it”: absolutely.
In fact even users that are not as enamored with the device will tell you that they think the pricing is pretty damned good for what you get. For what you get. That is what defines value for the consumer that actually waits in line — the consumers that only Apple has.
So the iPad has:
The Amazon tablet as Arment sees it will have only the last item on the list — that’s not a device that is a competitor to anything — that’s slapping a Ferrari logo on a Kia. Even at that it is not a sure bet that such a rumored Amazon tablet would even meet that last item of “worth” — after all even if a tablet is only $99, doesn’t meant that it is “worth” $99.2
Amazon will ship a boatload at the beginning to people that want to try the device, but those people will soon report back that you are better off biting the bullet: buying an iPad.
In the iPad market you simply cannot compete on price alone.
While I would be lining up to get an Amazon Tablet as Provost outlines it — the line would be pretty short. The hardware needed to create such a tablet would be very expensive for Amazon and therefore it would make the Tablet very expensive for consumers.3 The Kindle has already taught us that Amazon is not willing to sell a device at much of a loss — even if it would result in higher “content” sales — instead preferring ad supported models.
With Provost’s idea we get:
In other words the only bullet point Provost’s idea would be competing on is hardware.
You can’t beat the iPad with hardware alone.
Now I need to address the user experience for both Arment’s vision and Provost’s vision since I categorically claim that they will both be “poor”.
The problem with the Arment Tablet user experience is two fold:
Having said all that there are three other majors issues with the Arment tablet speculation: core OS apps, weight, and the Amazon Appstore (one word because we wouldn’t want to be confusing it with another App Store).
The core OS apps are the apps that should be provided on any serious tablet from day one. Those apps include (at a minimum):
Let’s take the above and look at them again, this time in the sense of what Amazon is actually good at:
Amazon’s inexperience in OS level software and lack of viable partners is what will really kill them with a Tablet offering. Amazon needs to ask themselves: do we really want to become a software company? If the answer is no, then the Tablet needs to pass the Android compatibility suite. Otherwise Amazon is going to need to make a serious commitment too software design and development to even compete with fellow Android tablets.
Arment speculates that the Amazon tablet will be thicker than most tablets, thus accommodating a higher capacity battery. If this is true then we can naturally expect the weight of the device to be much heavier than an iPad.
People already complain that the iPad is too heavy for general reading purposes — this is Amazon’s bread and butter. Making a tablet that is heavier than the iPad? That’s not a good idea, even if the battery life is significantly better.
People like the Kindle (in part) because it is light and won’t break their nose if they drop it on their face while reading in bed.
As I mentioned above the Amazon Appstore has already begun pissing off developers. The bigger problem is: will good developer flock to the platform?
Without the subset of key apps, or even knock-off apps, no user will take such an App Store seriously. The current best selling listing for the Amazon Appstore is less then hopeful for the platform.
The reasoning for stating that Provost’s tablet concept would have a poor user experience (right now at least) is much simpler and clearly stated by Arment himself:
I don’t think color e-ink is product-ready yet. Even if it could match the resolution and response time of today’s grayscale e-ink displays, that’s still nowhere near good enough to play video, animate anything, or smoothly scroll a page. I doubt that color (or probably even grayscale) e-ink will ever be fast enough for those roles.
In other words: lag. Too much lag. Provost’s speculation also ditches a web browser — leaving me to wonder if you could even put such a tablet in the same category as the iPad.
This entire post is speculation on speculation. The point of it is to really say: that Amazon must do more than people are speculating to stand a chance at beating the iPad, or changing the rules of the game.
Right now, where rumors and speculation currently stand, I don’t see Amazon doing much more that becoming another me-too tablet manufacturer competing for the crumbs the iPad leaves behind.
I don’t usually like to predict outcomes on motions, but I will go out on a limb here and predict that Apple is granted the right to intervene if for no other reason than Lodsys appears to be clueless with respect to the law.
In response to the flooding in Vermont due to tropical storm Irene, IGG Software is donating the proceeds from all of today’s sales to relief efforts in the state. We will also contribute a matching donation to the cause. Our hearts go out to the people of Vermont during this difficult time.
I highly recommend iBank — it is my current financial app of choice — no better time to buy it.
It’s black, it’s beautiful, it’s simple, it’s fast, it’s the weather app you’ve been looking for. It just takes one look to get you hooked. WeatherSnitch 2 will change your expectations of not just weather apps, but all mobile apps. View the weather by month, week or day, each with unique benefits. Built-in push notifications […]
It’s black, it’s beautiful, it’s simple, it’s fast, it’s the weather app you’ve been looking for. It just takes one look to get you hooked.
WeatherSnitch 2 will change your expectations of not just weather apps, but all mobile apps. View the weather by month, week or day, each with unique benefits. Built-in push notifications bring the current temperature right to your home screen. Millions of locations in over 123 countries allow you to go beyond your local forecast and see the weather around the world.
For more information and how to download WeatherSnitch 2 visit, www.weathersnitch.com