Tag Archives: appletalk

Writings Elsewhere

I always feel a certain sense of guilt when I don’t write on my personal blog (i.e. here), even when I’m doing daily news write-ups of Apple news for AppleTalk. It’s not that I have a shortage of stuff to write about, but finding time in between part time work and Dota 2 just doesn’t happen, most of the time. Anyway, I have been writing, just not here, which I have summarised below.

AppleTalk has been up for about a month now, and already we’ve had some great content up. Some of the highlights, written by yours truly:

  • I think I Just Became OK With In-App Purchases — my look at the world of in-app purchases on both mobile and desktop platforms, and how I’m totally OK with paying for stuff in free-to-play games, so long as the game itself isn’t a shameless money-grab.

Ask any game developer, and they’ll tell you that in-app purchases are the new “in” thing. Big publishers like EA, as well as smaller indie developers like Halfbrick, are using it as a new way to make money. The thinking goes that instead of offering titles for a set fee up front like traditional software, developers and publishers can make more money over time, which more closely aligns with the subscription payment model. Whether it’s working out for them is another story entirely, but judging from the continued adoption and uptake of in-app purchases in many new apps, I’d say the results speak for themselves.

Of course, Birdbrain gives you basic information like your following and follower counts, tweets, mentions, retweets, and how many users you’ve blocked. But the real power of Birdbrain lies in its ability to give you those numbers over time — as you use the app, it updates those numbers so you can get a feel for how your numbers change over weeks or months.

Captured has a few things going for it: for one, it’s super easy to use. Take a screenshot and it’ll automatically upload it and copy the URL to your clipboard, meaning all you have to do is paste the image somewhere for people to see it. Imgur is the default location for uploaded images, but you also have the choice of your own storage in way of Dropbox, Amazon S3, or SFTP, all configurable via the the Preferences window in Captured.

  • And more recently, a wrap-up of Apple’s WWDC 2014 keynote. It wasn’t any longer, running-time wise, than any previous Apple event. But Apple announced so much stuff — both for consumers and developers — that the potential ramifications will be felt years from now.

The keynote from this year’s WWDC has just wrapped, and Viticci is right when he says this isn’t just Apple skating to where the puck is, this is Apple creating an entirely new ball game. Apple kicked things off by saying it was an event with three main focuses — OS X, iOS, and developers — and then they went on to deliver one of the biggest Apple events in recent history. Let’s dance.

Welcome to AppleTalk →

Last week, I quit MacTalk. Yesterday, I, along with a number of other co-conspirators, launched AppleTalk Australia, a new site for Apple enthusiasts to chat about anything related to Apple.

Yours truly on the welcome post:

So, this is us. A new name, a new front page, a new discussion platform. A fresh start in many respects, and a clean slate in every other. We’ll still be covering all things Apple, Mac, and iOS, and we’ll do so from that unique Australian perspective you’ve come to know and enjoy. For starters, we’ll be taking it slow with a daily news summary from the world of Apple from yours truly. Over time, we’ll add reviews, how-tos, and editorials into the mix, and we’ll see where things go from there.

It’s our own foray into the big, bad world of online publishing. We’re funding the entire thing ourselves for the time being, and once we get something resembling a readership, we’ll look into sponsorships, running ads, or other alternatives for revenue. We’ve put a bunch of effort into it, and it’s turned out pretty well so far — I can only hope it lives up to our readers’, and our own, lofty expectations.

If you’re wondering whether I knew about it before I left MacTalk, the answer is: yes, of course I did. After a number of years writing the daily news, I just wanted something of my own — a property (besides this blog) I could be proud of, one that I could look back on and pat myself on the back about.

The front-end is powered by WordPress, and the forums are powered by Discourse. I’ve been using WordPress for years, but Discourse is an entirely new thing.

Ever since it was introduced, I’ve wanted to work with Discourse. Something about it just seemed like the future of online discussion platforms — and from everything that I’ve seen of it so far, I’m wondering why people are even bothering with the alternatives, the established players in the forum space (phpBB, vBulletin, etc). There’s just so much to love about it that everything else seems outdated by comparison. It’s modern. It’s open-source. I have no experience with Ruby, the language that it’s built with, but thankfully I haven’t had to dive into any code thus far — the admin panel is well-organised and fully featured enough so that hasn’t had to happen.

There are those that think Discourse looks “samey”, and like any default theme, I agree wholeheartedly. We’ve customised the AppleTalk install a little, and it’s amazing what you can do with a splash of colour and a few custom avatars.

As Mr Wells said on the Reckoner podcast (where I spilled the beans about AppleTalk before it was actually live), it’s been a long time since there was a good Apple forum for Australians, by Australians. It’s my fervent hope that AppleTalk becomes that new forum, and I, along with my partners in crime Toby and Bart, am prepared to commit as much as it takes to make that happen.

As they used to say, “this is my next”.

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