Starting Thursday, Twitter began rolling out their latest redesign, dubbed “New New Twitter” by users. The new design looks okay, albeit a bit heavy on the boxes, but some of the changes it brings aren’t so welcome. It seems to me as if Twitter is slowly strangling the brilliant simplicity that made it unique and successful, and making the service more and more like Facebook.
The first change that irks me is the new Connect screen, which replaces the Mentions tab. Instead of getting a listing of replies or tweets mentioning your username, you get something closer to a Facebook feed. The stream is cluttered with messages along the lines of “Mr. Follower and 6 others are now following you. Isn’t that great?” Oh, and anytime someone retweets one of your updates, it goes in there too. You can still get to the Mentions timeline, but it requires a second click. I imagine it’s even more “useful” if you have a half million followers.
If you do even a little bit of web or graphic design, you might have run into a cool poster or product label somewhere and thought “I like this color scheme.” ColorSchemer Touch is a neat iOS app that will help you out with those situations. If you snap a photo, it will let you tap colors within it and build a color palette.
It also has a couple of manual color pickers, including a basic color wheel and the nifty “LiveSchemes” tool, and integration with Colour Lovers. So you can browse and save other palettes as well as creating your own. You can easily email color palettes or save them to your camera roll, as well as syncing them to Color Lovers.
ColorSchemer Touch is currently free on iTunes, though I believe it is usually $2.99.
Just last week the much-anticipated Infinity Blade iPhone game from Epic Games was released. The first to use the new iOS port of the Unreal Engine, it’s stunning graphics have been a major selling point for the game.
The big news is just how amazingly successful the game has been thus far. In its first five days, it earned a stunning $1.64 million. Quite an achievement, breaking Cut the Rope’s record of $1 million in its first ten days to boot.
At $5.99 per copy, the sword-fighting app will thus have mustered over $1.64 million in sales for publisher Epic, whose studio Chair Entertainment created what is widely-hailed as one of the most technically impressive iOS titles to date.
This really shows how viable a platform iOS and the App Store are. There is a lot of money to be made, and the barrier for entry is very low in comparison to most other gaming platforms. At last, indie developers are finally on a fairly even playing field with the larger game companies.
Yes, that means BuySellAds is coming to the iPhone and iPad. Think about that for a minute.
There are now three major ad networks available for app developers to use in their products. Apple’s own iAd, with it’s fun and user-friendly interactive mini applications; Google’s AdMob banners; and now BuySellAds. The big difference between BuySellAds and the other two is that you get final approval before an ad is displayed in your application. Also, the advertisers pay a fixed amount to run their banner for a specific stretch of time, while Apple’s and Google’s offerings cycle different banners in using an automated targeting algorithm.
Choice is good, and some developers will definitely benefit from having BuySellAds as an option.
It’s pretty obvious that I have a significant interest in iPhone apps and their development. I like to cover the subject here, despite the fact that the site is called “Webmaster-Source” and not “iPhone-Source.” Why is that?
I think mobile applications are as much apart of the field of webmastery as web pages are. Just as a web application can serve-up an HTML frontend or an RSS feed or a JSON result set, it can also have a mobile interface in “app form.” Modern websites generally separate the content from the business logic and the presentation layer, allowing for interface-agnostic systems like Twitter. I can use most of the functions of Twitter through the main website or through HootSuite or through one of the many iPhone apps.
True, mobile apps are not hypertext, but they’re yet another facet of the internet. Let’s face it, normal web pages don’t work terribly well on pocket-sized devices. The iPhone made it tolerable to browse the web on a mobile device, but it’s still not an optimal experience. Apps are the preferred interface, whether we all like it or not.
What do you think: is mobile app development as closely linked to web development as I consider it?
To-do lists are a great way to organize yourself and make sure you get things done on time. Unfortunately, I have trouble getting into the habit of using a list on a regular basis.
The new iPhone app EpicWin attempts to solve that problem. It’s a simple to-do list application that encourages you to use it with a unique RPG-style angle. You create a character and level up by completing the tasks you assign yourself. You can mark a to-do item as being worth a certain number of experience points, which go to the relevant skill you designate.
For example: I need to write a blog post today, so I add the task “Write blog post on Webmaster-Source” to EpicWin. I assign it 100xp and list it as a feat of Intellect (as opposed to a feat of Strength or something similar). Once I finish the task and check it off, my character is awarded the experience.
I downloaded the app as soon as it went live in the iTunes store last week, having been anticipating its release for a couple of months now. I think it will (hopefully) be the app that will finally put me in the habit of using a to-do list.
Why is it so hard to find a good RSS reader for the iPhone? Sure, there are a few, but not many are as refined as Reeder.
When I first started using Reeder, I thought the interface was pretty good. The only real problem was that Google Reader sync was slow. In version 2, a free upgrade for existing users, that has finally been fixed. It only takes 3-5 seconds to download about 250 unread items. Once that is done, the app starts caching all of the images it can find in the feeds so you can still see them when offline. This takes awhile, but you can still read while it works. (You can turn the feature off if you don’t like it.)
Reeder 2 now offers state-saving functionality, as well. If you exit the app to check your email, Reeder resumes right where you left-off when you come back.
Really, it strikes me as the “Tweetie 2 of RSS readers.” It’s one of the apps that easily earns its spot on page one of my iPod’s home screen.
Now, if only the developer of Newsfire would add Google Reader syncing. Then my feed-reading experience would be excellent.
CUPERTINO, California—June 12, 2009—Apple® today announced that more than 11 million copies of Safari® 4 have been downloaded in the first three days of its release, including more than six million downloads of Safari for Windows.
More than half of the downloads were from Windows users. Isn’t that interesting? And no, they were not pushed through some sort of automatic update. I had to manually download the new version of Safari for my MacBook, and it’s not yet on either of the Windows-based machines that I administrate.