Dec 6, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Featured, Software & Scripts
One of the premier RSS reader apps for the iPhone and iPad is Reeder. It syncs fast, it has a great interface, and it uses Google Reader as a backend (which means you can keep it synchronized with all of your devices).
The much-anticipated Mac version of Reeder is now available in public beta. While some of its features are still being implemented, you can get a good look at what the final application will be like.
The interface looks amazing. I think some of the keyboard shortcuts could use some work, but overall its very usable. I like the narrow column of icons representing the individual feeds. One minor change that would be welcome would be for them to automatically sort by the number of unread items, which I have found makes going through large numbers of items easier in other readers.
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Oct 21, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Featured, General
Apple held their “Back to the Mac” keynote yesterday. Despite the online media saturation of all things Apple, some of you were probably unable to sit down and watch the live stream of the event. (You can watch a video of the keynote if you want to see the whole thing.) For the chronologically challenged, here is a quick recap of the keynote.
Apple announced FaceTime for Mac, a beta of which is now available for download. As with the iPod Touch, you initiate the call by choosing an email address from your contacts list.
A new iLife suite is available for purchase. iLife ’11 includes some improvements to the most popular applications in the bundle. iPhoto gets new full-screen modes, nifty social media integration and new slideshows. (iPhoto will now load photos from Facebook and Flickr, and will even import activity and comments for photos you share.) iMovie gains a function to easily make Hollywood-style movie trailers, advanced audio editing and facial recognition. Garageband adds tools for fixing timing issues in recorded instruments, new amp and “stompbox” effects, and improved instrument lessons.
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Oct 18, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
Apple has been passing out media invitations for an October 20th “Back to the Mac” event. The invite, featuring a picture of a Lion hiding behind the Apple logo, implies that we will be seeing a new OS X release. After all, each release of OS X (from 10.0 to 10.6) has been nicknamed after a large feline.
The question is: what are the big features going to be? 10.6 was named Snow Leopard because it was mainly under-the-hood improvements, lacking many big flashy new features. A new cat entirely should mean we’ll be seeing some major changes.
The overly-popular tech blogs are all hyping-up their uncreative touchscreen angle, predicting everything from a smaller MacBook Air that exists in the space between a notebook an iPad to the unification of iOS and OS X.
I don’t particularly care for that rumor. I like mine better. There isn’t much evidence to support it, but it’s the perfect next step for Apple.
I think Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” will have built-in cloud syncing. Leveraging their new North Carolina datacenter, Apple will integrate Dropbox-like functionality into the Finder itself. They already have MobileMe, why not take it to the next step? Your data would be accessible on any device, and you would no longer have to worry about backing it up.
It makes perfect sense. Nobody ever backs up their data, so Apple does it for them. Everyone with an iPhone or iPad wants to be able to access and edit their files on it, so you make it easy for them.
The OS X interface is fine the way it is. It doesn’t need to be touch-enabled. It might be nice if app developers could build-in (non-touch) Mac interfaces so a universal app could run on OS X and the various iOS devices, but cloud syncing would probably be more beneficial to users overall.
Sep 29, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
This has been in the works for awhile, but Mac AppStorm is reporting that BuySellAds is finally putting ads in OS X applications. If you have a Cocoa application, you can use an API to inject ad zones into your application. The ad zones appear in the BuySellAds marketplace just like any website, but the ads will be pulled-into your program. Bodega and the Kiwi Twitter client are both using the ads.
This is something that I have been wanting to see for some time. We have already seen a few free internet-connected applications, such as Evernote and Tweetie for Mac, supported by Fusion Ads and The Deck. It’s cool to have BuySellAds, a less exclusive network, offer a similar option to developers.
My big question is: will this work for iPhone apps? Cocoa and CocoaTouch are similar frameworks, and it would be interesting to see BuySellAds as a potential competitor to iAd and AdMob. (iAd is simply perfect for the iPhone, though. Plain banners can’t quite compete in that regard…)
Jul 30, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
I noticed something interesting recently. The new version of Apple’s Xcode development suite (which is used to build applications of iPhones and OS X) is starting remind me a little of Coda and Espresso. The latter two applications are one-window development environments for web developers.
Coda, which is similar to Espresso but was released first, combines a powerful text editor with FTP syncing, visual CSS editing and support for the SVN versioning system. This has proven to be popular among web designers looking to streamline their workflow.
Xcode 4 is taking the same one-window approach, bringing the previously separate Interface Builder application inside of Xcode. The UI is also looking a lot more streamlined. The boring Windows-style file tree pane on the left hand side has been redesigned to look more like the iTunes sidebar. (Which is another interface feature of Espresso and Coda.)
Xcode is already a great IDE, and a pleasure to work with. The changes should make it even better, and more in line with the “Mac-like” feel the great tools that other developers have been building for web designers.
May 29, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Featured, Software & Scripts
I’ve been trying out Tweetie for Mac lately. It’s a Mac OSX-native Twitter client with a very nice, polished interface. It has many of the features of Nambu, but it lacks the instability that Nambu tends to have from its current “beta” status.
Tweetie supports multiple Twitter accounts, and let’s you switch between them with a cool vertical slide effect. It offers the usual basic Twitter functions (friends timeline, mentions, direct messages) as well as some streamlined search abilities, including the ability to save favorite searches that you frequently track.
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Jun 5, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
The first thing most people think when they turn a Mac on for the first time is something along the lines of “Wow. This looks cool.” Then the next thing you notice, or more accurately, don’t notice, is the act of using the OS. Once you get used to how everything works, which doesn’t take long if you’ve used another OS (read: Windows) before, you don’t have to think about it. It’s intuitive enough that you just do what you need to do without having to think about it much. You don’t have to worry about the OS itself much either, except when you need to do some occasional maintenance.
The Mac OS is
Those three bullet points are some of the most important things to think about when it comes to web design. Obviously you want to have a good-looking design (don’t tell me you like GeoCities-style pages…). The other two points are very important. If you must have a horrible-looking design, the second two points are worth putting some thought into.
Simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean having a Google-esque design. You could classify Digg as a fairly simple design, though not to the point of Google. Ideally you want to simplify elements of your design, to make it more usable, but that doesn’t mean you have to not have any images or color.
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