A Random Pattern

Archive for the 'Apple' Category

Pulled post on the Palm Pre?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
Questions on best way to deliver Palm Pre apps

Questions on best way to deliver Palm Pre apps

Earlier today Andrew Shebanow, a developer with Palm, posted an intriguing set of questions for potential developers.  How would they prefer their applications to be distributed on the Pre platform?

A popular and influential Mac Blogger, John Gruber of Daring Fireball, linked to this post and caused the usual huge influx of traffic.  Unfortunately this was apparently more than Andrew and his bosses had bargained for.  As of now the post has been removed.

I think it was reasonably (though maybe not perfectly) clear from the original post that this was a developer being allowed to have his own voice rather than speaking for the company.  It also was a refreshing break from Apple’s absolute control over messaging (even if that control was considered partly responsible for their success now).  It was even more refreshing since this topic, app distribution and control, is the sorest subject for Apple devotees right now.

Here is a chance to capitalize on Apple’s mistakes, Palm.  Think carefully, but think quickly.  Don’t let this opportunity get away.

5 Hours to Leopard’s Release!

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Leopard, the new operating system from Apple, goes on sale at 6 pm today.

If you’re still using Windows at home, and you want to do typical home-user things (photos, movies, music, web-surfing, email), Mac OS X is the best game in town right now.  Windows XP and Vista just don’t compare to the truly best-of-class consumer apps that Apple is providing lately.  Even better, Leopard now lets you run Windows side-by-side in case there are a few things you absolutely need on Windows.

From my point of view the absolute best feature for the average household?  The safety and security features.  You simply don’t have to worry about viruses and malware like you do with a Windows machine.  There’s the added advantage of not supporting the unethical Microsoft corporation, which has enjoyed (and abused) a monopoly for some time now.  Luckily it looks like those days are drawing to a close, as the market is already responding to the last several years of Apple innovation.

Beautiful Video Ad

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Apple should hire these guys – this video is more beautiful than the iPod ads.   Check it out here:


I have never been too interested in “The Big Apple”.  I don’t like cities, but I do like people.  This unofficial ad for the iPhone made me, for the first time, really see the appeal in New York, New York.  It is truly an inspired work of art.

It helps that I want an iPhone also.

The OS wars? They are a mess.

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Windows is dead? Apple is a phenomenon. Linux is still fighting off its anti-user attitude problems.

The real secret feature of Leopard is . . .

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

It’s been staring us in the face all along. I know I’ve seen a few people mention something here and there, but its never gotten the attention it deserved. The secret feature of Leopard, the one Apple didn’t want to announce early, is . . .

“Developers, Developers, Developers!” Yes, one of our least favorite internet videos mirrors the refrain that you now see across the Mac web. I’ll lay out my reasons for thinking so right up front, but you can decide for yourself after reading the many links this article offers:

1. Developers are excited, and several apps are coming out as Leopard only. That really should be all we need, but so that we can draw some reasonable conclusions . . .

2. Leopard is supposed to come out in “Spring 2007″, yet we still don’t have any announcements about the secret Leopard features. Barring some silly theories about a huge Apple conspiracy with most developers having a “placebo” Leopard, that means lots of developers have at least parts of the “secret” in their NDA’d little hands. This matches with a lot of developers saying ‘and that’s only the cool stuff we can tell you about’.
3. Apple stories have such a value, and there is such a large “rumor market” surrounding the company, that it’s hard to imagine major user features would be hidden in the developer previews and not disclosed. Apple’s good, but they’re not that good – and information from the developer previews does routinely leak.

“So what?” you say. “You haven’t told us anything yet. Where’d you get your headline from, Paul Thurrott?” I can hear you sneer. Ok, here’s the secret feature:

Delicious Library.

I’m only partly kidding here. I don’t really suspect that Apple is going to bundle Delicious Library (well, I don’t have really strong reason to suspect it anyways), and I don’t think that by itself is a compelling “secret feature”. What I really mean is that I suspect Steve will spend a good deal of time demoing some third-party apps with the release of Leopard, and for good reason.

I will add that the iPhone, and the obvious multiple uses of OS X in embedded situations (iPhone, Apple TV . . ), as well as the multi-touch capabilities, further strengthen my view that Leopard’s real strength is under the hood.  I don’t expect other multi-touch products right away – this is too new, and Apple needs to see the success with the iPhone (as well as learn from any mistakes there).  But they’ve got lots of professionals that could use a well-designed, laser-focused Apple product to help them, both in Audio and Graphic design.  Multi-touch would be another tool in the toolbox for this crowd, but I don’t see that offering the wide appeal and easy marketability that Apple needs for its “secret features”.
Note: While finishing up this article, I was edged by several other articles, though luckily no one’s come out and actually said it. So now I can use them as supporting evidence for my claims also. :)  I’m going to put this article out there, as I’ve been sitting on it for weeks.  There may be more to come, but if you follow Apple news you can put the rest of the pieces together yourself.

My Dream App: The Vote is Over

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

The Final round of MDA came and went.  Victories were celebrated, dreams were crushed.  Those of you who took the time to vote after my plea Wednesday, Thank you.  It was a close and exciting vote.

The final winners were Atmosphere, Portal, and Cookbook.  Hijack was in fourth, by only 5 votes!  Unfortunately Whistler was a little further behind, and Blossom had the unfortunate job of holding down the final position.

In addition, there was some unexpected and unfortunate drama after the round finished, due to some fraudulent votes.  This was quite unfortunate, but seems to have been handled well (in my opinion).
The MDA experience is far from over.  In fact, anyone is welcome to continue following the development of the three winning ideas into final applications.  I’ll be posting updates here infrequently, when something particularly newsworthy or interesting happens.  If you’re interested in seeing a behind-the-scenes of how shareware / software is developed, it might be worth your time to follow along.  Head over to the forums, I’ll see you there.  :)

One last thing of note: Though only three app ideas were winners and awarded publishing contracts, several other ideas were very strong and had great community support.  There is a good chance, because of that, that some of the other apps will get picked up by other development teams.  I’ll be featuring that news here as well.  So far there is nothing official, but rumor has the following apps being looked into: Hijack, Whistler, Blossom, and Ground Control (4th-7th place in the MDA vote results).  Hijack has a particularly active group of supporters, with rough work-ups of code already in progress!  Ground Control has a great forum live and starting to hop with action.  I’ll be doing my best to support Whistler‘s development, though I can’t imagine a professional team not taking advantage of that idea.

Those of you who have been patiently waiting for other-than-MDA content on my blog, your patience will soon be rewarded.  :)  Thanks for sticking around – and let me know in the comments what you’d like to hear more about!

Save Hijack and Whistler!

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Alright, if you haven’t yet voted, you’ve got less than 24 hours to get to MDA and vote for my three favorites – Hijack, Whistler, and Cookbook!

Ok, that’s not really fair.  Go, read the descriptions of the apps.  Ask questions here or in the forums (or just search in the forums), then vote for what you think would be best.  But if you’re not quite sure, you can trust my seasoned opinion.  ;)

Seriously, I think Hijack and Whistler are in danger of not winning.  Of course, it’s to also good app ideas like Atmosphere and Portal, but still . . .

Atmosphere I’m pretty sure will get done one way or another.  Portal’s a different question, there’s no guarantee that it will get done if it doesn’t win.  But the ones least likely to get done by other than the MDA dream team are Hijack and Whistler, and I badly want to buy both of them.

So your opinions count, even if you don’t think they do.  It’s easy, it will only take you about ten minutes, and I’ll appreciate it (even if you don’t vote for my favorites :P ).  Go, vote your conscience, and if you want let me know in the comments.

May the best app win!

(seriously, go vote.  Why haven’t you left yet?  Go, go!)

My Dream App: The “Top 6″ by Judging Criteria

Friday, October 13th, 2006

Here are my predictions for what apps make it to the top 6. First, though, a quick rundown by voting criteria, as objective as I can be. Keep in mind these are all somewhat subjective, though. These are the criteria again, as a reminder:

Judging Criteria:
A) Innovation and Creativity of the Idea
B) Use of OS X and Leopard technologies (see list of technologies at the end of the post)
C) Feasibility of Development
D) Mass-Market Appeal

Innovation and Creativity

This criteria is both easy and tough. Initially I had a very “artsy” view of creative, making this list easy. But as I look over it more, I realize some of the creative ideas, like Cookbook or even Ground Control, could also justifiably make an argument to be higher on the list.

  1. Blossom
  2. Atmosphere
  3. Whistler
  4. Hijack
  5. Portal
  6. Cookbook

Use of OS X and Leopard

This is a tough one, especially since I’m not a Mac developer. Here’s my best shot:

  1. Portal
  2. Ground Control
  3. Hijack
  4. Cookbook
  5. Blossom
  6. Atmosphere

Feasibility of Development

After this round, I don’t think this criteria will play as much of a role.  Almost everything still in the running has already been deemed feasible by the judges.  In a way, the idea of a Dream App is almost to push the limits of feasibility, not stay well within them.  Still, here’s the list, ordered by most feasible to least:

  1. Atmosphere
  2. Cookbook
  3. Hijack
  4. Blossom
  5. Portal
  6. Ground Control

Mass Market Appeal

This is probably the most critical factor, and is probably the main deciding factor or motivation for many voters.  “Would I buy this?” is, I think, a good question to ask yourself before voting.  Don’t ask “would I download this and try it for a few hours?”.  :D  This is also the most subjective list, so here are my opinions:

  1. Whistler
  2. Ground Control
  3. Hijack
  4. Cookbook
  5. Portal
  6. Atmosphere

My Personal Opinions (finally!)

The reason I haven’t shared them yet is that they’re not set in stone, especially not until I read the guest judges’ comments.  Still, I’ve got a pretty firm opinion right now.  That opinion, though, has changed since I first started following MDA, and is likely to change again before the final vote next week.

I was actually surprised when I finished doing the ranking above, so maybe you were too.  The diversity of the applications really shows through, and they all have different areas of strength.  Each of them has a different potential market, as well, which makes the “Mass Market Appeal” that much more difficult to judge.  Compound that with the fickleness of consumers, and we have an almost impossible prediction to make.  Good thing we’re utilizing the “Wisdom of Crowds“.  ;)
Before I go on, voting is likely to start soon for the semi-finals.  There are 9 contestants, and after this voting round 6 will head to the finals.  Next week the final vote will leave us with 3 winners.  After that, MDA developers will form teams and create the 3 winning apps, with (hopefully) plenty of community involvement along the way.


  1. Cookbook: I would buy this before any of the above apps.  It’s a really well-thought out idea, and I think it’d be really successful.  Still, it seems a bit “tame” for what MDA could produce.  I think of it as “proof” that MDA isn’t just for geeks, but for real people.  Plus, think of the market this way: everyone has to eat.  Those that have discretionary income are able to pick and choose what they want to eat when.  Discretionary income is good for selling an app like this.
  2. Hijack: In contrast to what I just mentioned for Cookbook, Hijack is for Forum Junkies.  That happens to include my wife, oddly enough, which is why Hijack initially caught my eye.  This idea is just hands-down a winner, especially if you look at the success of both RSS and the current interest around “social” and “community” type web activities.  I think it’s self-explanatory, someone tell me if I’m wrong and I’ll explain.  :P
  3. Whistler: This was a slow starter, but as the vision became clearer it grew on me.  This seems to me the most marketable of the ideas, one of the funnest and most creative, and after lengthy forum discussion the conclusion was that it would be feasible.  I really like the contestant’s vision, and can really see this being one of those apps used to “sell” the Mac.  Not because it, by itself, is “needed” by anyone, but because it would be a perfect example of how things on the Mac are easy and completely, mind-blowingly awesome.
  4. Portal, Ground Control, Blossom, and Atmosphere are all really close 4th places in my mind.  :(  I wish they could all get developed!

I expect iGTD, Desktop Wars, and Atmosphere or Ground Control to not make the semi-finals.  Reasons?

  • iGTD hasn’t gotten any further development attention, unfortunately.  (However, there’s a strong GTD cult that might keep this one in anyways)
  • Desktop Wars has been mired in controversy and lack of attention (except on voting days).  (Again, there’s a strong contingent of -likely- younger voters that isn’t yet interested in the more practical aspects of the other apps, and would love to download DW.  This is a good time to stress that the winning MDA apps WILL NOT BE FREE, but will cost money.  :) )
  • Atmosphere – this was a hard call, because I like the idea, but it’s simple and not enough people seem to be buying it as “worth” the vote relative to the others.  We’re getting into the hard votes, where good ideas are going to lose out to the very best ideas, on merit and not on anything the contestant has much control over at this point.
  • Ground Control – also a hard call, I really like this app and I like the contestant and his work ethic even more.  The app is a brilliant idea, really strong, but I’m afraid it may be too hard for voters to grasp before they “clicky clicky” their easy vote buttons.  It took me a while to get on board, too.

There you have it, folks.  More opinions to come, if anyone still needs more.  And commentary next week on the finals, too!
Leopard Technologies, according to Apple’s “sneek peak” site:

Here are the other core technologies per the Leopard “sneek peak” site:
-Time Machine (auto file backup – can be hooked up to your app by API so you tell it how to smartly backup your app’s files instead of grabbing everything that changes)
-Mail (main interesting thing here is the universal ToDo list stuff, at least from an MDA perspective)
-iChat (new capabilities of sharing photos, movies, and putting fake backgrounds behind the speaker…)
-Spaces (virtual desktops, I see an explosion of innovation surrounding these. But that might just be dirt on my glasses. cool )
-Dashboard (new stuff is the web-clips ability and the easy widget designer-thing – forgot it’s name)
-Spotlight (new and improved! We hope!!)
-iCal (I don’t remember. But it was cool, I’m sure. wink )
-Accessibility (the Voice, and we all hope maybe more steps towards resolution independence?)
-64-bit (uhm, yeah…)
-Core animation (which is fun to toss around, but I think mainly means it’s easier for developers to flip images and video and what-not around the screen in whatever manner they want. Or something.)

Cool and Useful: an inspiration to us all

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

A new Mac application is coming out, one that does something that sounds really boring: it burns discs (you know, makes CD-Roms).  Go take a look at this video clip – it suddenly makes burning seem a little more fun.

Why do I mention this now, in the midst of the MDA fun?  Because this approach to making applications is one of the most exciting things about the Mac, and the My Dream App competition.  Disco makes something simple, when all previous attempts I’ve seen make it complicated.  Disco makes it cool and fun, when previously it’s been boring and borderline painful.

And the kicker?  One of the guys behind AppZapper and now Disco will be working on one of the winning MDA ideas.  So yeah, that’s how cool the final product is going to be.  Let the fun begin.  :)

MDA – Voter Opinions

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

Here are some of the recent blog entries about MDA, as well as posts where some forum members lay out their case for their favorite (and least favorite) apps:

Combination of the Dock and Dashboard – by Justin
The Semis: My Opinion – by microwavedh20
Weighing in: My Picks – by Dillon Krug, former contestant
My Picks for Round 3 – by Devon Shaw
mythrol’s picks and reasoning – err, by mythrol, of course :lol:
what do you get if you cross a guitar tuner with a dictation machine and feed it to a MIDI engine? – by The Doorkeeper
what a computer app should be – by SP3CCYLAD
I’m still holding off on posting my favorites. If you’re here, bored, only because you’re waiting to vote: just come back tomorrow. It looks like voting is delayed until Thursday. Don’t worry, you’ll still get 48 hours to show up and vote.

MDA “Top Ten” (top six, really) lists are in draft stage.  Come back tomorrow!