Wednesday: January 2, 2013
- New version of iOS starts appearing in developer logs.
Developers have started noticing some curious entries in there log files regarding a new version of Apple's iOS operating system. The current version of iOS is six but references to iOS 7 are being found. Along with the new version of iOS a new iPhone hardware identifier has been unearthed as well. Look forward to iPhone 6 sometime in the near future.
Wednesday: December 19, 2012
- Creators of Zork series to receive Pioneer Award.
If you Google hard enough you can most likely find a web-based version of the original Zork for those of you looking to take a step back into text-adventuring nostalgia. You are still likely to be eaten by a grue.
Friday: December 14, 2012
- University of Chicago receives mystery package addressed to one Henry (Indiana) Jones Jr.
An interesting read if only for the care and detail that went into the package itself. The package was received by the admissions department and reportedly almost thrown out until a student worker made the discovery. Could this be some new viral marketing in the making or a student with a really unique application package? Who knows - but either way, this is pretty neat.
Thursday: December 13, 2012
- Google releases standalone maps application for iPhone.
The long awaited Google Maps application is finally here and it actually looks and functions very well. There have been numerous reports that this app beats out it's Android counterpart in terms of design and overall look and feel. All of the characteristics you expected from a proper maps application are here - turn by turn directions, vector maps, rotational maps and general location information. Some amazing work here from Google.
Tuesday: December 11, 2012
- New trailer for Disney's The Lone Ranger surfaces online.
There is something very wrong with that horse.
Wednesday: November 9, 2011
- You won't be seeing Siri on older iDevices anytime in the near future.
That's a shame but it makes sense given Apple's strategy and history of making certain features exclusive to particular iPhone models. Not clear on why devices other than iPhones have to miss out on this. The iPad 2 should have enough horsepower to run Siri without an issue (same for their notebook line as well).
Thursday: August 11, 2011
- Nintendo shareholders would really like to see Mario on the iPhone, sooner than later.
It's an interesting time these days for video game consoles. That is of course, if you happen to be a company called Nintendo. Nintendo's latest handheld has been officially declared as a flop (even by Nintendo itself) and the price has been reduced not long after release. The caliber of games you can find on the iPhone and iPad do rival what you can find on a Nintendo handheld - and at a much cheaper cost ($40 compared to often times $1-2). It should be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Wednesday: August 3, 2011
- An interesting video showing off the impressive CGI used in Game of Thrones.
Andy Gavin has written a post with a behind the scenes video from HBO's Game of Thrones depicting how most of the locations are built using modern CGI and clever scouting. If you've watched the show (and I highly recommend that you do) some of the per-CGI moments in the video may actually take you by surprise, once you see their post-CGI counterparts.
Thursday: July 28, 2011
- Sponsored tweets from companies you follow will be appearing more often in your Twitter timeline.
If you use a Twitter and you happen to follow of lot of name brand companies you'll be seeing what that particular company has to say front and center. Sponsored tweets from said companies will appear at the top of your timeline and can be easily dismissed with a click. This seems like a good idea in theory, if I'm following a given company on Twitter one would think that what they have to say would be relevant to my interests (in theory of course). In theory you could also follow me on Twitter (@subwarm), and no - there will not be sponsored messages from me or GLM (not intentionally anyway).
Thursday: July 21, 2011
- Mac OS X Lion: First Impressions.
The latest version of Mac OS X is finally here. Being the diligent Mac fanboy that I am, I've have gone ahead and installed Mac OS X Lion twice now. Once on a brand new MacBook Air and once on my only slightly out of date MacBook Pro. The best part about this? I didn't have to drive out to the Apple Store or wait for a FedEx truck to show up. You buy Lion online from the Mac App store and that's the only way you can buy it. By far this has been the most gratifying delivery method of any OS X release I've seen so far. My download speeds were quick and in both installations I was able to get the install file from Apple's servers in under forty minutes. Another neat thing about Lion? The licensing. As you read before, I installed the new operating system on two machines already. If these were Windows machines, I would have had to fork over some dough to Microsoft to get two product keys. Apple takes a different approach. Buy it once, put it on whatever machine you like. I happen to love this approach.
Now that I've spent a good 24 hours with Lion I'd like to spout out some first impressions.
Installation: Total breeze on the MacBook Air. With only a few clicks and some setup time and I was up and running. Slightly different story on my MacBook Pro though, for some reason Lion rebooted the machine into the special setup options and required another reboot to truly kick off the installation process. Minor issue, really just kind of a strange thing since the Air installation was ridiculously fast and smooth.
Inverse scrolling: This was a maddening experience at first. Apple calls this new feature 'natural scrolling' but it feels anything but when you try it out. I understand that this is how we 'naturally' scroll when using iPads and iPhones, but on those devices you are actually interacting with the content you are touching directly. You can see how your touches affect what you see, it's a visual experience that your brain just gets when you do it. On a trackpad the same kind of interaction doesn't exist. You are looking at the screen while your fingers are off doing something else, there is no direct visual correlation. Long story short, it certainly doesn't feel natural - not at first anyway. I'm going to stick with this for a couple more days and see if I can get used to it. For those overly frustrated, you can relax - the option to turn off 'natural scrolling' is tucked away in System Preferences under the Trackpad pane.
Gestures: There are ton of them, some are intuitive and some are not. Apple has a rundown of the ones you should know about. For the most part though, love them.
Fullscreen Apps: Love, love, love.
Gestures + Fullscreen Apps: This is a joy to use. Swiping between apps feels good and let's each app shine in their own way when in fullscreen mode. It's a little disappointing to use third-party apps that aren't taking advantage of the fullscreen APIs yet. Granted of course that Lion hasn't even been out for a week yet so I'll give said developers a pass. But pretty please, update your apps soon and utilize this feature. I would love to see Evernote in fullscreen. Hint hint.
Launchpad: Not really digging Launchpad all that much as an application launcher, app folder replacement, iPad clone, etc. It just seems a little repetitive since there is already a dock, an apps folder, a spotlight search. The gesture to bring it up (three finger pinch) is quite useful and dare I say, fun to use. I've seen Launchpad exhibit some weird behavior in regards to moving and deleting apps. For example, drag an app from Launchpad into the trash. In my case, the app doesn't actually get deleted - I had to go into the Applications folder and drag it into the trash. Fire up Launchpad again, the app you just deleted may still be there. When you click it, you'll get a question mark as if the operating system just said 'WTF' out loud. After a reboot the deleted app was removed from Launchpad. Making folders is a little strange in this regards as well. Folders you create in Launchpad seem to only exist in Launchpad. Interesting, but a little confusing at the same time when used in conjunction with the Applications folder. The coolest part about Launchpad is it's integration with the Mac App store. Downloading an app will drop it into Launchpad and present itself in the same fashion as when you download an app on your iPhone or iPad.
Safari: There doesn't seem to be a gesture for switching between tabs. You can swipe left and right to shuffle around history of a given tab you're in, which is nice but my general workflow with Safari is each website gets its own tab. And maybe it's just me but I can't for the life of me figure out what purpose 'reading list' serves other than being an additional bookmarks folder. At first I thought Reading List would save an article offline for browsing later on but that is not the case. Turn off your Internet connection and you'll see that Reading List tried to grab the page you saved from the actual website. Perhaps I am not grasping what use this feature is in the scheme of things.
Mail: The new Mail app is a welcome change. It seems that it has some smarts built in when you setup accounts from other platforms. For example, try setting up a GMail account and you'll prompted by Lion to import your calendar info as well as your chat friends (Jabber). That was a neat little feature that I wasn't expecting. There seems to be an issue with the new 'conversations' feature, it seems to work a little bit too well for my taste. Here is an example, I sent myself a test message from GMail to verify that my Mail.app was setup correctly. The message was simple, subject line 'test', message body 'test'. Evidently, I've done this many times over the years. Mail decided to group my most recent test message along with any and all test messages I've sent to myself since the oh, the year 2007. That doesn't feel like a 'conversation' but rather more like an archive. Just thought it was interesting behavior, I don't think the GMail client functions this way in terms of grouping emails.
Conclusion: I am digging Lion so far. I think more gestures could have been worked in to make certain workflows easier. In iPhoto, I'd expect to be able to swipe left and right when in fullscreen mode to browse my pictures. At present time, you can't do it. That's not to say a software update couldn't add that feature later on.
Wednesday: July 20, 2011
- Some casting news for next season of Game of Thrones for those interested.
After seeing the first season I've been hooked on this show and can't wait for season two (which will most likely surface next year). The books are also a fun read as well and I recommend them to anyone looking to pick up on their summer reading. If you are more of a summer television watcher then go watch the series, you won't be disappointed.
Monday: July 18, 2011
- An awkward meeting between Twitter founder Biz Stone and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.
The Next Web posts an interesting article regarding a meeting between the two heads of the socially charged companies that happened some time around November 2008. It is rumored that this is about the time that Facebook was thinking of acquiring Twitter for sum of about $500 million. I smell a Social Network sequel or at the very least an Odd Couple-esque sitcom.
Friday: July 15, 2011
- National Geographic provides a top ten list for pretty much any travel idea.
Thinking of a planning a boat trip in Venice? Want to visit some famous boardwalks all across the United States? Whatever it is you happen to be looking for chances are you'll at least find a little travel inspiration with one these lists. Personally, I enjoy looking at some of these exotic beach locales (as evidenced by the chosen thumbnail).
- App of the Week: Game Dev Story
Rarely does an iPhone game catch my attention let alone force me to become so addicted to it that I abandon posting to my newly launched website for an entire two days. That's exactly what happened when a friend suggested I try out Game Dev Story for iPhone. The concept is pretty simple, you are President of a game development studio. You make video games. You watch them sell (hopefully like hotcakes), make money, become famous. Along the way you'll also need to hire employees with various skill sets (everything ranging from writers to sound engineers) and even take your advertising dollar spend into account.
The game has some interesting play concepts. In order to make a video game you'll need to pair up given types of video games along with matching a genre to that type which may or may not be the best fit. For example, you can choose to make a racing game and have the genre be about robots. On the other hand, you can make a video game with conflicting styles like RPG and... trivia. You can also choose what platform you want to develop for your video game for. Each platform has it's audience and the game type you choose may play a part in that. In order to play with some of the bigger platforms you'll need to get a license (of which you'll need some serious cash in some instances). Based on how well the type, genre, and platform of your desired game match your staff will work on it and try to make a game to the best of their given abilities. Those abilities can also be leveled up through research data (think experience points) or you can also send them to training, which also will cost you your hard-earned money. If you're unhappy with the performance of a given employee can choose to fire them and hire some new ones. At some point, you'll even be able to design your own platform/console. As of writing, I have not gotten that far yet.
The visual design of the game looks like something you'd see right out of the classic Super Nintendo days of gaming. The graphics are cute and at times huggable, especially when you see your team do very well on a game. It's very much reminiscent of SimCity but obviously with a different setting and environment. But the game does take some direct cues from SimCity and will throw some curveballs at you every now and again. For example, when your team is working hard on your latest video game the electricity may go out. This causes the development to suffer and sets back your team. Some of your employees may ask if they can work to improve a game, when they fail your game's bug count goes up. However, if they succeed your game gets better. You can also purchase boosts and products for your employees to add polish to your games, but it'll cost you.
The strangest part about this for me is that for the life of me I could not seem to put this game down. I found myself playing it on the Subway, walking from the Subway, walking home, during dinner, etc etc. There was something very satisfying about creating a mock video game (they even let you name it) and then see how well your idea takes in terms of sales and overall popularity. I was never into the whole Tamogatchi Virtual Pets thing when they were popular back in the day, this seems to be the virtual pet that was custom-tailored for me and my video game aspirations.
Game Dev Story was created by the folks over at Kairo Park. The app is available for iPhone and Android devices and will set you back $1.99. Enjoy and best of luck in your video game creation endeavors.
Friday: July 8, 2011
- Twelve cool Apple iPhone concepts for you to gawk at.
Toxel has put together a list of iPhone concepts from all over the Interwebs ranging from cool to never-gonna-happen-this-lifetime. Some of these mockups may or may not already be in violation of several pending Apple patents. Seriously, has anyone taken a look at Apple's patent portfolio these days? It's quite extensive, they hold over 16,000 of them worldwide. Just reading this post probably puts you in patent violation.