Tag Archives: iphone

Normalware.com – Bebot

Bebot: part synthesizer, part animated robot.

Touching the screen causes the robot to move and make sounds controlled by your movements. Play it like a musical instrument, or just have fun watching the robot and making noises with your fingers.

Features 4-voice multitouch polyphony, multiple synthesis modes, user-definable presets and scales, tweakable sound parameters and effects.

via Normalware.com – Bebot.

15 Links: The Browser Clear Out Edition

It’s that time again – my browser desperately needs a clear out, so here we go…

  • Weebly
    Their tagline is “Create a free website and blog.” I don’t know how well it works, but it seems to be a nice version of either Tumblr, or WordPress.com – except not purely related to blogging. Sure, do it. Whatever.
  • Wikipedia’s List Of People Who Have Mysteriously Disappeared
    This is pretty freaky, actually – it’s not like we know for _sure_ that those people pre the 1800 actually did disappear under mysterious circumstances. Only two entries in 2008, however – some Russian who could have been the victim of a political murder plot, as well as a Florida resident who has recently been taken off medication. Mysterious? You be the judge.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailers
    If the trailers are that good, then you know the movie will be. Hopefully it isn’t too long, though – last time my sister and I went, the queues were massive. The movie is out July 17th, so strap yourselves in – July seems to be gearing up for a ripper of a month.
  • 30 Exceptional CSS Navigation Techniques
    Another smashing post from Six Revisions (not to be confused with Six Apart, mind you), this article will not only tell you how to achieve stunning navigation, it’ll also tell you how to do them using CSS – which is, of course, completely awesome.
  • Gizmodo explains the difference between $100 and $100, 000 speakers
    An interesting read, if a little long. Wait, I think that’s been said before – in that case, it’s a great read, however, it’s a little long. Filled with information, though – so read it anyway, and hopefully you’ll have learned something by the time you get to the end. :)
  • 12 Gauge Shot Glasses
    Yeah, you read that right. 12 Gauge. Shot glasses. Not shotgun, but shot *glasses*. What could be more awesome (or stupid, if you’re so inclined) than alcohol and shotguns? :P
  • Tweetlite flashes tweets in morse code
    To be compltely honest, I don’t quite understand the point of this one. It’s actually quite pointless, unless you really love Twitter and your morse code. Well, whatever brings in the green, yeah?
  • Cosmic Nitro
    From the guy who developed Galcon for the iPhone [iTMS Link], comes his latest creation, Cosmic Nitro. It’s basically a pretty rehash of the “space-invaders” like genre, similar to Missile Command, where you have to defend your city from waves of incoming stuff (including toxic waste, comets, asteroids, aliens, etc). It’s not bad – and at $1.19, it’s probably worth it. [iTMS link]
  • iTypeFastr
    From the dark side of jailbroken iPhones, comes a custom keyboard. Unlike other keyboards for the iPhone, this keyboard comes with a custom layout. No, it’s not dvorak, (someone make this, please), but it does change the size of the keys to reflect an updated QWERTY layout. It makes the most-frequently used keys larger (so they’re easier to press), all without making any of the other keys smaller by using up all the available keyboard space. Again, your mile may vary – I haven’t personally tested this cos I can type fine on the standard iPhone keyboard anyway.
  • Tweetie for Mac
    The excellent @chartier takes a look at Tweetie for Mac, from the guy who made the iPhone app of the same name. It’s damn slick – the interface is as good as any, and besides – it’s nice to see Cocoa-based Twitter apps (AIR sucks, btw). You can tell it is a beta, though – there are certainly features missing, and the current feature-set seems a little lightweight for my liking. It’s not as featured as Twhirl is, for instance. It is being released on Monday, so keep your eyes on teh (sic) interwebs (sic). ;)
  • Apple market share shows negative growth
    Oh great. I’ll pin this one on the Global Financial Crisis, then – thanks to the PC market crashing haphazardly around the US (see what I did there?), Apple’s market share has also taken a tumble as a result. Sure – it’s not right to pay $500 for a logo, but it’s so much more than just the brand, you know?

And lastly, we have:

  • Apple WWDC developer videos
    The interview from Cultured Code was the only one I actually watched, but I’m sure they’re all excellent. It’s especially interesting to see if they actually went through all the steps in the video, or if they were putting on a show for Apple… I’m sure it’s the former, though. Those Germans know how to do things right. :)

And we’re done for another week. Cya, and as usual, comments below. Doing links (esp with “Smart Links”) in WordPress actually sucks. Next time, I might just be a lazy blogger and put in the links – none of this fancy <a href=”link here”>some text here</a> crap. Pfft. Screw that. :P

I’m Getting Things Done. I think.

So, I’m currently getting into the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology.

While I’m usually pretty good at remembering things, sometimes I feel like I’m juggling too many things at once, or alternatively, I think of something on the bus or while I’m daydreaming in lectures at uni and forget it later on. Good blog posts are notorious for this.

I’m not a huge fan of carrying around a notebook around, so something I always have with me is my iPhone – and while it does notes, it doesn’t do them well enough to warrant using on a daily basis. The iPhone’s Notes don’t currently sync with the Mac in any way (that’s going to be fixed in iPhone OS 3.0, though), and while it’s simple and easy to use, doesn’t offer the functionality I’m looking for.

So, what exactly am I looking for? A couple of things:

  1. Syncing between iPhone and Mac. If I think of something while I’m out and about, I’m going to write it in my iPhone. When I get home, I want to have the same lists on my iPhone as well as my Mac, so syncing between the two is a must-have. I don’t care if it’s over Wi-Fi or over USB – either way, syncing is too important to ignore.
  2. I want something that will act as my second brain – things that I can just push items (be it text, a URL, a list, or anything) into, and forget about. While ShoveBox fulfils this requirement, it doesn’t have any sort of “list” support – and for the GTD mentality, that’s a huge negative.
  3. I need the ability to cross things off once I’ve done them – if not for the fact to show myself that I’m actually accomplishing things, then for the ability to see what I’ve already done, and can now forget about (so I stop worrying about it later on). Things currently does this, and comes with an iPhone app to boot! It’s on my shortlist, but the price for the Mac version scares me… :o
  4. While “Projects” are good for things that need to be done that have a lot of steps, they’re not good for lists and stuff. One of my main gripes with Things is that there’s no support for folders, only areas of responsibility and projects (which can then contain projects). However, The Hit List does have support for simple lists and folders, so for usability in that area, The Hit List wins. No iPhone app as yet for The Hit List, though, and it’s not as polished as Things. :( For now, The Hit List is on my shortlist.

For now, there’s no clear winner in the GTD department. When I find a winner (in roughly 15 days, as that’s when my Things trial ends), I’ll be sure to tell you right here.

Comments below – I’d appreciate it if you could point out your GTD methodology, and what apps you use to accomplish it. :D

LiveFire from ngmoco: the Quake 3 engine lives on the iPhone

“The two most important things in a FPS title are framerate and control—if you don’t have those, you’re going to be fu**ed,” Neil Young tells me. He’s playing LiveFire in front of me, the first-person title that gave the company so much buzz at Apple’s SDK event. It’s just as impressive in person, with a great framerate and controls that look solid… although no one will let me actually play. “We’ll get this running faster,” Young says, unsatisfied with even this impressive demonstration.

… “This is actually the Quake 3 engine. We completely rewrote the renderer, and we completely rewrote the control system and the animation system. We started from that baseline and then we’ve went from there.”

Let that sink in: the Quake 3 engine is running—very well—on the iPhone.

via LiveFire from ngmoco: the Quake 3 engine lives on the iPhone – Ars Technica.

iPhone. Quake 3 engine. Need I say more?

I love ngmoco:). Damn great apps – keep up the good work, guys!

Evolutionary, Not Revolutionary – iPhone OS 3.0

Everything from the iPhone OS 3.0 keynote this morning was evolutionary, not revolutionary. There wasn’t anything announced that would change the game for Apple – nothing like, for example, the Pre’s gesture bar, and the implementation of a curved touch-screen.

But enough of being negative. More of that later ;)

For now, we’ll just take a look at what’s changed. For both developers and users, we have:

  • 1000 new APIs. Huge news for developers, ‘cos it means that they can implement things in new and exciting ways. For example, APIs for streaming audio and video, and also for in-game voice chat.
  • Maps built-in. Previous to 3.0, if you wanted to view a map inside of an app you’d have to exit that app, and load up the Maps application on your iPhone. Now that’s gone. At the heart of the Maps application is an API that allows devs to showcase those maps inside of their own app. No more exits from apps.

Push Notifications

  • Push notifications. They only drop the all-important standby time by 20%, compared to 80+% when you run an app in the background. It’s also scalable to suit the mobile network, which is awesome seeing the iPhone is now in 80 countries, with hugely varying mobile networks. Reason for delay? Unprecedented influx of apps that wanted to use the Push service, which meant that Apple needed to “re-architect the architecture”. Heh. Unfortunately, this means no backgrounding of apps… but you knew that already, yeah? Wasn’t battery life and performance the reasons that Apple introduced Push Notifications in the first place?
  • iPod library access. Means apps can use your iPod library to play music in-game. For example, a radio in EA’s The Sims (coming soon) could play music that you already have in your iPod library. This is a small, but significant feature as it now allows third-party access to the iPod library – something previously unheard of, as traditionally, the iPod library has been restricted to Apple-made apps only.

In-Game Purchases

  • In-game purchasing. Allows users to buy things (extra levels, goodies) in-game. Yet another way for Apple (and developers) to make money. Personally, I’m not a huge fan for paying for something I’ve already paid for, and then paying for it again. And again. And again. It’s goona get old, real soon.

Right – so onto the big guns, yeah?

Cut Copy Paste DemoCut, Copy, Paste

  • Cut, copy and paste. Done, and dusted. Well done, Apple – everyone said they were going to do it, and they have, with no less than one of the most brilliant implementation I’ve seen.

Bring Your Own Maps

  • Core Location for turn-by-turn. It’s coming, alright. Bring your own maps, but it’s coming. Finally, I might add.
  • Farkin’ MMS, haha! People complained, and Apple listened. Support for audio, pictures, location data, all within the standard SMS application. No substitute for bluetooth file transfers, though.

Multiple Photos

  • Attach and send multiple photos in emails. Something else which was highly requested, and another one of those “why isn’t that already in there” features. Good work, Apple.

Landscape Keyboard

  • Landscape keyboard. Across all apps, you can now have the landscape keyboard in your SMS, and in your emails. Awesome. Personally, the landscape keyboard takes up too much room (obscures things above it), but yeah – if it’s there, then I’d probably use it.

Forward and Delete

  • Forward and delete individual messages. Yet another highly requested feature, yet another score for Apple.

Third-Party Accessory Support

  • Dock connectivity + third-party accessory support. For developers and users, this is a huge plus. Imagine a keyboard plugged into the bottom of your iPhone, an FM transmitter with an app on your iPhone that allows you to control it, the possibilities are endless!!

Spotlight

  • Spotlight. Unified search on the iPhone, just like it works on your Mac. Search everywhere, including Mail headers, subjects, bodies, as well as Notes, etc.

Notes Sync

  • Notes sync. Finally.
  • Stereo bluetooth streaming – A2DP. Not avail on the first gen iPhone, though. Another +1 for Apple.

Overall, not bad, Apple. Not bad indeed. Definitely one of the better events to get up for, and one that will send the blogosphere into a frenzy.

I was planning to jailbreak my iPhone, but it looks like I’ll hold out till 3.0 is released. June can’t come fast enough!! BRING IT ON! :D

Personally, I’m hoping we’ll see a lot of tiny improvements not important enough to warrant their own part of the keynote. Like Custom SMS tones, Apple. We’ve got shake to shuffle, judging from the above pic, we’ve got the peer-to-peer gaming via bluetooth (yes, even in the iPod touch, apparently it can be “unlocked” to use the hardware), and we’ve got the copy and paste, and we’ve got the turn-by-turn.

What about all the stuff we didn’t get? At the QandA session, their answer to tethering was “We’re supporting tethering in the client side, we’re building that support in. We’re working with our carriers around the world. We are building that support in.” Sure, it might take 2 years, but it’s coming.

Bluetooth file transfers? I wouldn’t count on it. When the question was asked at Q and A, it stumped the team. Read whatever you want into that, but it’s probably a ploy by Apple. There’s no way they would have NOT considered that to be a very real possibility, esp. with jailbreak apps that do it already.

So… Apple is awesome, and there’s not much more to it. I’m sorry I turned on you when the Pre was released, Apple. :D

Final thoughts – now, about this evolutionary, not revolutionary thing… While today’s releases were certainly impressive, most of the features weren’t entirely unexpected. Amongst the throngs of turn-by-turn, MMS, and copy and paste, there’s nothing that we didn’t think was going to be put in. While 3.0 will be awesome, it’s really just a filling out of all the features that were supposed to be there in the first place, and even then, there are still things missing – tethering, for one.

Think about it this way – how long has the iPhone been released for? How long have people wanted copy and paste? How long have they wanted turn-by-turn? I know people who bought iPhones primarily for their turn-by-turn ability, and those folks are going to be over the moon from today’s announcements, sure. But what about the rest of us?

I guess the question you’ve got to ask yourself is – how does this change the game for Apple? And the answer? It doesn’t. There’s nothing that changes the face of the mobile industry as we know it.

When it was first released, the iPhone was a completely revolutionary device. No other gadget I’ve seen yet has come close to the market impact that the Apple iPhone has (evidence for this is every Tom, Dick and Harry having one in the streets), and I’m not entirely sure that the iPhone OS 3.0 is the one that’ll change the game for Apple.

Impressive? Undoubtedly.

Evolutionary? Decidedly.

Revolutionary? I’ll let you make that decision for yourself.

Comments below. Thanks to Engadget for the images, and to both Engadget and gdgt for their coverage of the event, of which most of this post is based on.

7 Must-Have Additions for Next iPhone: iPhone Wishlist 2009

I don’t know how you feel, but I think the world is ready for a new and improved iPhone. Yes, it was the best phone that 2008 brought out but with the likes of the Palm Pre, HTC Touch Diamond2 and HTC Magic about to hit town, the title for Best Phone of 2009 may just go elsewhere.

via 7 Must-Have Additions for Next iPhone: iPhone Wishlist 2009 | Mr.Gadget.

As loathe as I am to post a link from Mr Gadget (bad publicity will do that to your business), almost every reason on this list can be fixed via a software update;

  1. Turn-by-turn – this is fixable via software.
  2. Larger capacity/removable battery – obviously, this isn’t fixable via software.
  3. Cut and paste – this is also fixable via software.
  4. Bluetooth file transfers – this is only half-fixable via software, AFAIK. Needs some sort of blutooth protocol stack.
  5. Multitasking/background notifications – this is fixable via software.
  6. Voice recognition – fixable via software, although I don’t know why you’d want this as a feature. Bloody MS users.
  7. Bluetooth A2DP – provided the hardware is there, this is also fixable via software. We’ll see this feature when Apple release a set of stereo bluetooth headphones.

So folks, what does the next-gen iPhone actually need, in terms of hardware? Shout out in comments.

The Perfect Week

Just had a pretty excellent week, if I do say so myself.

Monday was all about postage. My Just Mobile Gum Pro (extended iPhone battery, RichardSolo competitor with 3.8X the capacity of the iPhone 3G’s internal battery) arrived via registered post from Hong Kong, and it is good. Thanks, Expansys! I also get some excellent news on a couple of items that I’ve been expecting for a while.

Tuesday wasn’t as busy – after starting to write up the review for MacTalk on the Gum Pro, I got a message from none other than Mrs Schuth saying that the School Magazine was back from the printers and was available for collection. Naturally, I don’t have my Ps yet, so I got a friend to pick me up and collect the magazine from school. Thanks, Christo.

Wednesday, and yet another thing arrives in the post. This time, it’s my LogMeIn.com t-shirt that I’ve totally forgotten about – I did some beta-testing for them a while back, and they send me a free t-shirt from the US as a gift. Works for me. Thanks, LogMeIn.com! Apart from that, Chris and I take a trip to Sandy Bay to see what the parking situation is for Thursday’s Orientation day for us who are studying in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Technology. It’s not too bad – we finish with a Hungry’s Lunch, and that’s about it.

Thursday, and it’s the day for us Science, Engineering and Technology guys to head to UTas to Orientation Day. There, I pick up my Student ID, take a tour, and setup my School of Computing and Information Systems account. Easy day, but it’s great cos I get to catch up with some old friends from Calvin whom I haven’t seen in a while. Later on, I get into town, buy a Nerf Maverick, and trade with a fellow MacTalk member – Nicolas Cage is awesome in Next, and Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin are impossible to resist, especially when bundled together.

Friday, another easy day – I pretty much do nothing. Later on, I get news that the thing that I ordered on Monday has arrived – but along with this comes the devastating news that I can’t take it home.

Saturday, work. Training is excellent – I don’t finish the class too early, and I recieve a ton of compliments on my training from the guys who attended. I also grab a copy of iLife ’09 – review to come shortly.

Now, it’s Sunday. The first day of Uni is tomorrow, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready yet. I’ll be able to pickup my thing tomorrow, though – so there’s a good start to the week already!

Comments below.

Malaysia 2009 – Part II

Dactyl Highscores

Dactyl Highscores

So, I finally managed to beat Turk’s high score on the iPhone game, Dactyl.

As you can see from the image above, he’s managed to rack up quite a lot of scores – and finally, I’ve managed to beat him in a fit of epic boredom when I was in Malaysia.

Now – the next thing is to crack the 500 mark. Shouldn’t be too hard, considering that I got 492 without putting in much effort.

Maybe I should tell him that there’s already a sequel  – Dactyl 2 in the App Store – then again, maybe not…

This has been Malaysia 2009, Part II – brought to you by Benny Ling’s Bling.

Previous entries can be found at their respective links below:
Part I (Don’t Sweat It)
Part Ia (Keeps Getting Better)

motionally.com | inexpensive HD motion graphics | WELCOME

Motionally.com provides inexpensive royalty-free HD motion graphics templates you can use immediately within Final Cut Pro.

We produce finished templates — mostly lower thirds Master templates — that you can use directly in Final Cut Pro without further tweaking. HD 1080p, 1080i, 720p and SD resolutions at PAL or NTSC frame rates, 16:9 or 4:3 title safe — no problem.

via motionally.com | inexpensive HD motion graphics | WELCOME.

Iain Anderson, from motionally.com did me a huge favour: he enabled the emoji keyboard on my iPhone for me.

The emoji saga as I’ll call it, happened when I saw the thread on MacTalk forums saying that a particular iPhone app (since removed from the App Store) enabled the Emoji keyboard for you – even if you weren’t with a supported Japanese carrier.

I then contacted Iain, who was willing to make a small ad-hoc app that ran the “Emoji-enabling” code when opened. All I had to do was send him my iPhone’s UDID (easy with apps like iStat for iPhone), and he did the rest.

Sure, there are now free apps on the app store that will enable the Emoji keyboard for you – just search “emoji” on the app store. I think there’s a $1.19 typing program that does it (as well as a free one).

To actually enable the emoji keyboard, though: Launch the app, hit the home button, go to Settings –> General –> Keyboard –> International Keyboards –> Japanese and then change “Emoji” from OFF, to ON. It’s that simple.

So, there you have it. Emoji will now be enabled, and you’ll be able to send cute animations to all your iPhone-friends. For the full FAQ, hit up the Mactalk link here.

Thanks once again, Iain. Your iPhone-registered developerness was much appreaciated in this instance! :P

Cheers.

Seven features that make the Palm Pre better than the iPhone

There was a glow on the face of every Palm employee we saw today, and deservedly so: the new Palm Pre is a hail mary product. It’s probably going to save the company.

And it is, in many ways, better than the iPhone.

via Seven features that make the Palm Pre better than the iPhone – Boing Boing Gadgets.

UPDATE 3: Video courtesy Ars:

UPDATE 1: Oops, forget the all-important specs… Kudos to iLounge.

Palm today introduced its latest handset, named the Pre. Featuring a 3.1-inch, 480×320 touchscreen, a dedicated gesture area below the display, a vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and more, the device is aimed at the same market as the iPhone. Other technical features include high-speed wireless (EV-DO Rev. A or HSDPA, depending on the model and carrier), GPS, Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash, 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB connector, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP, 8GB of internal storage, an accelerometer, ambient light and proximity sensors, a removable rechargeable battery, and an optional wireless charger. Pre is exclusive at launch to Sprint.

Folks, I’m not going to kid you on this one – Apple actually have a real fight on their hands here, for these three reasons:

Firstly, it runs Linux. This, in and of itself, will silence all those “the iPhone is locked down, proprietary, user’s can’t do what they want without jailbreaking, etc, etc” people who think Apple is the worst thing since the drop toilet. SQLite features as the database here.

Secondly – it has all the “wow” features needed to knock the iPhone of it’s most gigantic pedestal. The menu bar *cough*DOCK*cough* apparently has this cool feature where you slide your finger up from below the screen, and the dock pops up with your finger. This is possible because the touchscreen (with built-in) multitouch actually extends BELOW the actual LCD – which makes for cool features like this. And you thought Shazam was cool… this feature blows Shazam out of the water. Like Shazam, it’s one of those “OMGZ THATS AWESOME” times when words escape you and you’re left with nothing but pure adoration.

And finally, Facebook and Gmail – the integration is said to be “top notch”. None of this “have facebook as a seperate app on another home screen” business like the iPhone – instead, imagine being able to send a photo or text to Facebook from withthin every photo management app, every mail application, every web page, with the same features being applied to Gmail. PLus, you can choose to pull down your contact’s Facebook’s profile pic, so that when they call you, you can see their lovely face as it shows on Facebook. ZOMG! AWESOME!

…and I lied, there are actually four things. System-wide COPY and PASTE is the last feature that will make this a serious “iPhone Killer”.

Hopefully, it’ll have the hardware to match up to the software. The only way I can see this becoming a massive fail is due to a sloppy processor, or a battery life that just doesn’t quite cut it.

It’s for these four reasons that Apple had better make iPhone OS 3.0 a dammmmed good release. A couple of things for them to work on: MobileMe (integration? Don’t make me laugh), iWork.Com (a mobile version is a good start, now we need more integration), App Store (it’s far from perfect), Push Notifications (please don’t make this into another MobileMe fiasco…), and FRIGGIN COPY AND PASTE! SRSLY!

…and hopefully, something awesome that will blow us all away, like battery life that doesn’t actually suck, full-bluetooth capabilities, a user-accessible file system (instead of each file storeage app having it’s own… wtf) or even a dash of multi-core iPhones

I’m scared. Scared at how badly Apple could have just lost the smartphone war, especially after it was doing so well… Scared at how easily it was to expose and exploit the disadvantages of the iPhone… Scared at how much of a contender Palm have come back as. Scared of how Android will respond to this new opponent.

UPDATE 2:
Links for further reading:
gdgt’s Palm Keynote live blog (lots of pics)
Engadget’s Hands On with the Palm Pre
Engadget’s In-Depth Impressions on the Palm Pre
Engadget’s Ominously Titled “The Palm Pre”

Apple. Do us proud!