Archive for July, 2009

Where’s the milk?

July 26th, 2009, 1:53pm by Kelvin

I taught Lucas to play the shell game by hiding his vitamin under these cups, and he came up with his own variant.

Best use of multitasking on Pre

July 22nd, 2009, 10:38pm by Kelvin

Multiple box scores from the baseball app running at the same time.

He shoots, he scores!

July 18th, 2009, 7:25pm by Kelvin

Lucas had his first soccer class today and learned the first rule: No hands in soccer! 
Lots of fun in the sun.


July 15th, 2009, 4:41pm by Mike

Well, the inevitable has finally happened — with iTunes 8.2.1, Apple has done what everyone knew they eventually would and made it so that the Pre can no longer sync seamlessly with iTunes. Anyone who’s surprised was fooling themselves.
My taken on the whole thing — despite the Pre fanboys’ insistence that this proves that Apple is afraid of the Pre (I’m sure they’re not), all that’s happened is that Pre is now on equal footing with every other non-Apple device out there — it’s easy to sync with iTunes, but you need 3rd party software. Apple hasn’t supported seamless iTunes syncing with other devices, and they have no obligation to do so. It’s their thing — they can do what they want. Other companies offer software to sync their devices with iTunes (like RIM, for example). If Palm had gone that route and Apple broke it — whole different story.
For that matter, you don’t have to use iTunes at all, there are plenty of good alternatives, and nobody’s stopping you, including Palm (and there are already good reviews of doubletwist on Pre). I guess Apple has decided that they don’t need the probably very few iTMS purchases from Pre owners.
On the other hand, I think that what Palm did, while innovative, was undoubtedly wrong, and they knew it. The fact that they warned, before Pre was released, that sync was possible with a very specific version of iTunes (iTunes 8.1.1 – see footnote 2 here) to me indicates that they knew that Apple could, and would, disable that ability.
Palm is really hoping for a public backlash, but I don’t understand how Palm is going to sell this to consumers. What’s their argument? I think it goes something like this: Don’t buy an iPhone, because it locks you into Apple and their strongarmed ways of doing things. Come to Palm, where we’ll let you do what you want, as long as it doesn’t require us writing any software to help you use your phone together with your computer the way you have been? If iTunes sycing is the most important thing to a phone buyer, they’ll buy an iPhone, end of story.
My prediction is that this will SERIOUSLY backfire for Palm. Are they going to continue marketing Media Sync as a feature? And then, when dissatisfied customers come back to the store, they’ll respond, “Oh, it works with the old version of iTunes, just like we said on the box.” Do they seriously think that’s going to turn people against Apple?
The only offshoots of this, as far as I can see:

  • doubletwist will get some new users. Great for them, I think that what they’re doing is generally good.

  • The hacker community will reenable iTunes syncing. That’s also great. I totally support hackers doing their thing, but I don’t support companies hacking other companies’ products in ways that they originators don’t support. Same as with Tivo — hacking was great, and was supported by Tivo, as long as you didn’t mess with their revenue stream by stealing service. If another company allowed you to plug in a device that would allow you to steal Tivo, that’s clearly wrong.

  • Pre users won’t update iTunes. I hope that’s true — it puts the burden on Apple to make something so great that people will want to upgrade. Apple has had little pressure to innovate with iTunes since it’s so dominant.

Palm may very well have a strong lawsuit in their pocket, hoping to hit Apple on syncing PDAs or something. Other than the off chance that they win a protracted legal battle, I can’t figure how this situation is going to help Palm in the least. And if that’s how they’re planning on saving Palm, I think that’s pretty petty.

Some Assembly Required

July 12th, 2009, 10:24pm by Mike

While Joanie was out of town last week, my two goals were to finish painting our middle bedroom (the nursery-to-be) and build the crib which had been sitting in a box for a while. In my spare time, I also learned the basics of iMovie and watched a documentary on Britpop. The culmination of all this: this video:


July 12th, 2009, 2:21am by Jake

I’m working on my next round of solid square projects, and probably the last spectrum-themed endeavor for a long time. This post will hopefully HELP me create it, as I need to make a 16×16 mosaic, and most web pages won’t let me create something that wide. Click through to see all 256, then adjust your screen width to make them fit.
NOTE: I’m going to use this space as my laboratory, and at times I might have several hundred photos that are 240×240 pixels. Maybe more.


Palm Pre & Flickr

July 9th, 2009, 4:55pm by Jake

On another Flickr note, Flickr employee mroth, the man that brought us all The Day of the Donut, has hacked up a quick Pre app and shared the details. This app just does what the Pre browser should do anyways, which is let you find nearby photos. But it is encouraging to see how easy it is to put together a Pre app, even for someone that isn’t more than a hobbyist developer.
mobile nearby page
Over in the Palm Pre Flickr group, I conducted a little poll to see how many people have installed accuweather. So far it’s 10 out of 11! Of course, sampling only people that have joined Flickr, joined a group on Flickr & actually participate in a poll may skew the results. I don’t really believe the percentage is that high. Finally, you’ll be glad to know that the 2 most interesting photos taken with a Palm Pre on Flickr are both from Pyslent members!

Dopplr, Flickr & Machine Tags

July 9th, 2009, 4:48pm by Jake

I twittered this morning about some new integration of Flickr & Dopplr using what Flickr calls “machine tags.” These are a special sort of tag that are interpreted by Flickr (or other web services) to serve some other function, and they usually follow a clear naming convention. A common use before Flickr introduced geotagging was to use machine tags to specify the latitude & longitude. There are also conventions that are used to identify other Flickr members in photographs. Today I noticed a blog entry about the Flickr-Dopplr (they both hate the letter e!) collaboration. You can now tag photos so that they show up on Dopplr, and so the Dopplr site is linked from the Flickr photo page.
The best way to understand this is by looking at an example– such as Fenway Park. Right now, it’s pretty well dominated by my photos since I tagged a bunch of Fenway shots. What do you think?

Chrome OS

July 8th, 2009, 8:34am by Mike

Late last night, Google announced that they’re developing Chrome OS, a lightweight, Linux-based OS that will be designed primarily for netbooks. The supposed advantages over conventional operating systems include a super-fast boot time directly into a browser, and “a new approach to security.”
Definitely a shot across Microsoft’s bow, with Windows 7’s release on the horizon, and the netbook community’s readiness to run Win7. Details are really scarce on the new OS, but I’m wondering how it’s different than Ubuntu or other Linux distributions, which their users can’t say enough good things about, but haven’t really caught on widely. You’ve got to imagine it’ll be more user-friendly. At any rate, it will definitely be a way to tie all of Google’s apps together, assuming that Gears will be baked in so that people will have seamless offline access to their online Mail, Docs, and Picasa accounts.
For a particularly bad summary, see this CNN article — particularly the last paragraph, where open-source software is described as “allows third-party developers to design compatible add-ons. (Think of the applications created for the iPhone or Facebook.)”
What do you guys think? I think it’s got a chance, as long as you’re already a user of Google apps. Being a non-Windows user, I wouldn’t have any particular reason to choose (and pay for) Windows on a just-for-fun computer like a netbook. I would think that most Windows users will want to stick with what they’re familiar with, though — I know that if I had a netbook and Apple decided to allow MacOS on netbooks, I would probably dump Chrome OS in a second, and I would think Windows users would feel the same way.

Olympus E-P1

July 7th, 2009, 3:22pm by Mike

The other day when we were all in NYC, Jake and I had a conversation where I was wondering why SLR cameras seemed to be the only ones that got any respect. Why can’t you have a point-and-shoot that has interchangable lenses, great optics, a shutter, and no mirror. The only thing we could come up with was the size of the film vs the size of a sensor, but still, that seems unrelated to the necessity of having a mirror.
Olympus apparently was up to the challenge. Their 12.3 megapixel E-P1 camera looks to be what I was thinking of — no viewfinder (just an LCD), but interchangable lenses (it comes with a 14-42mm lens, maybe to keep the overall size small). And it shoots 720p, which is good (though the still quality was noted in Engadget’s hands-on review as “not quite D90 quality”).
What do you guys think? Would you buy this over a point-and-shoot? I guess you get more flexibility, but at a hefty cost. What are the advantages of a DSLR over this? Is a viewfinder that looks through the lens all it’s cracked up to be?

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