Twitter Nostalgia

Craig Hockenberry on the early days of Twitter when he was building the first Twitter client and users were still trying to figure out what the site was all about. It was so exciting to live through those early days.

Hashtags, @replies, and the first Twitter client — so much of what makes Twitter great was invented by the users in 2007. I still miss the days when you could use “track” to follow what others were saying about the iPhone and the site was still small enough that you could reasonably read all of it.

The Tools and Toys Guide to Cutting the Cord

My sister and brother-in-law recently canceled their cable subscription. They bought an indoor antenna and a couple of Apple TVs to connect to all of the televisions throughout their house. I helped them pick out a lot of the devices and services that they would use to fuel their media consumption. This guide on Tools and Toys would have been invaluable for them during the lead up to their transition away from cable. If you know anyone that’s cutting the cord — or even thinking about it — send them a link to this guide.

The Wirecutter Picks the Best Minivan

I’m by no means in the market for a minivan, but it’s incredible that The Wirecutter has the resources it takes to actually do automobile comparison reviews.

And speaking of The Wirecutter (and The Sweet Home for that matter), all of a sudden they’re my favorite websites on the internet. I’ve purchased bath towels, winter gloves, and a new shower head based on their recommendations and I couldn’t be happier with any of these purchases. If you’re looking to buy almost anything I’d suggest looking on The Wirecutter and The Sweethome first to see if they’ve published any guides on the product category.

You Can Now GET Apps in the App Store

Jason Snell, writing on Six Colors:

Apple today has apparently done a giant search-and-replace on the App Store to replace the word FREE with the word GET. This is apparently related to an EU ruling that it’s misleading to call apps with in-app purchases “free”.

Maybe the button’s should just be labeled “Download.” I guess they would then have to relabel the buttons for previously downloaded (or purchased) applications, but if I was working for Apple I would do anything to remove “GET” from the App Store.

iMessage Won’t Send or Receive Messages From Phone Number

All of a sudden my fiancé’s iPhone was sending messages from her iCloud email account rather than from her phone number. I tried everything I could find to fix it, but ended up having to restore from backup in order to get iMessage working properly again.

A few days ago her sister’s iPhone was having the same problem and since we live a four hour drive apart from one another I had to try and find a solution that she could easily do herself. I came across this solution by Cammy Harbison on iDigitalTimes:

Turn both iMessage and Facetime off in the Settings Menu. Then in Settings go to General, scroll down to Reset then select “Reset Your Network Settings.” Once everything has reset, make sure you are connected to Wi-fi. Reactivate iMessage and Facetime. You should now be able to select your phone number as an iMessage sending option.

It worked like a charm and now my future-sister-in-law’s iPhone is sending iMessages from her phone number rather than from her iCloud email address. I wish I could have found this solution before pulled the trigger on restoring my fiancé’s iPhone, it would have saved me a ton of time.

Greg Joswiak on Stage at Code/Mobile Conference

Discussing the Apple SIM, iOS 8.0.1, Apple Pay, and more. This is a great interview, I’d suggest watching the whole video.

Overcast 1.1

iPad support, landscape view, and CarPlay support — I’ve never wanted a car with CarPlay more than I do now. Marco Arment did a great job with this update, I just wish I could turn off the landscape view without having to turn on the system-wide rotation lock in control center.

A New Business Model For Slow Fast Slow

Dan Provost of Studio Neat:

Studio Neat is in a unique position. We are not just app developers, we also sell physical products. Products that are meant to work with the apps in a way that enhances both, as is the case with the Glif and Slow Fast Slow or Frameographer. What if we make apps that are free with “ads”, but the ad is simply for our other products? You know, the products that actually make money?

What a clever business model. It’s similar to what I’ve thought bands and musicians should have been doing for years — give the music away and sell merchandise and concert tickets in order to pay the bills.

There’s no shortage of application developers that are willing to give their software away for free, but you’re never going to build best-in-class software unless you charge for it. That is, unless you can subsidize the cost of development with the money you make from another business.

How can other developers compete with you if all of their apps cost the same as yours (free), but you’re the only one actually making enough money to put in the time to make your app great?

Tim Cook Interview at WSJD Live Conference

Discussing Apple Pay, Apple Watch, television, and more.

Deregister and Turn Off iMessage

A handy tool if you ever decide to switch from iOS to another mobile operating system.

‘Put On Your Big Boy Pants’

Kif Leswing, writing for Gigaom:

Even if you’re uninterested in GT Advanced Technologies, there are a number of details about how much power Apple exercises over its suppliers.

Squiller says that Apple did not ever really enter into negotiations, warning that GTAT’s managers should “not waste their time” negotiating because Apple does not negotiate with its suppliers. According to GTAT, after the company balked, Apple told GTAT that its terms are standard for other Apple suppliers and that GTAT should “put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement.”

A company the size of Apple has a lot of weight they can throw around while “negotiating” with suppliers.

Dark Dock and App Switcher with Light Menu Bar

Great Terminal hack for Yosemite by Rob Griffiths. When I eventually upgrade my iMac and MacBook Air to Yosemite this will be one of the first changes I make.

(Via Shawn Blanc.)

A Week With the Retina iMac

Great review of the Retina iMac from Shawn Blanc. The review mentions one of the often-discussed struggles that many of us have dealt with — deciding between using a notebook as your primary computer or using a desktop as your primary and having a lower-powered notebook as a secondary computer for travel.

At least for the foreseeable future it seems that the Retina iMac has tipped the scales towards having a desktop as your primary computer. But, I wonder if having a notebook as your secondary computer is actually the way to go this time around. As Shawn notes in his aforelinked review:

Secondly, when I do travel to a conference or drive to a local coffee shop for the day, I mostly prefer to take my iPad. The work I do revolves around reading, writing, and communicating with my team. All of which are things I can do quite easily from my iPad thanks to apps such as Instapaper, Drafts, Poster, Unread, Editorial, Slack, Mail, Basecamp, OmniFocus, Safari, and Pushpin.

I wonder how many users could get away with using a desktop as their primary computer and having an iPad Air 2 as their portable machine. With all the power under the hood of the Air 2 it’s starting to feel like the power users are being held back by the software available on iOS and the mainstream users could easily use an iPad as their secondary machine.

I guess the debate between desktop and notebook computers is just another one of those tick-tock cycles in technology. They’re incredibly interesting to watch as time goes on, as they don’t always play out the same way as they did before. And, this time we could see tablets becoming the go-to secondary computer for many users (with a little help from Apple’s software development team).

Wearing the Microsoft Band

A quick preview of the Microsoft Band by The Verge’s David Pierce. It looks uncomfortable to wear, but there’s definitely tons of technology built into it.

I’m still not convinced that smartwatches will take hold in the mainstream market, but at least everyone is starting to figure out that the fitness features is where they should be spending their time. Little screens aren’t great for apps. But, sensors strapped to your body are very good at gathering data that can be displayed on a device with a bigger screen or used to give you suggestions about how to improve your overall health.

CNET Launching Print Magazine

Who’s actually going to buy this? Readers who are interested in technology are also least likely to be interested in print magazines. I wouldn’t even give it two years, if not for the deep pockets of CBS Interactive behind the new publication.

The Recent Podcast Renaissance

I think the golden age of technology-focused podcasting existed around 2007 followed by a slump in interest around 2009 or 2010 as Kevin Roose has suggested in his recent piece in New York Magazine. And, since then there’s been a huge uptick in podcasts that cater to more mainstream listeners. As Roose points out, 39 million people listened to a podcast in the last month, the highest number on record according to Edison Research.

The podcasting world is better in a lot of ways — the medium is legitimized by the major players, the technology is easier to acquire, and mainstream listeners actually know what podcasting is now. But, I think there’s some downsides for people like me who have been listening to podcasts since the beginning. Many of the shows that I’ve loved over the years have grown stale or ended and I’ve found very few that manage to fill their shoes.

And, there’s something to be said about the energy that exists on a show that’s still trying to figure it all out. All of the shows I listen to now “know” what they’re doing and end up feeling formulaic and, unfortunately, a little boring. I miss the days when podcasts felt more free-form, in which the hosts would let the show go wherever the conversation took them without having to worry about when they’re going to slip in the next advertising read.

I think Kevin Roose was very close to the mark in his aforelinked piece, about why podcasts have recently become so popular, but he just barely missed it.

It’s actually about cars[…] Now, though, cars are going online. Both Google and Apple have rolled out connected-car platforms (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, respectively), and most new cars sold in the U.S. these days come with the ability to play smartphone audio over the car’s speakers, either through Bluetooth connectivity or through a USB or auxiliary plug.

Yes the car is incredibly important, as most audio listening takes place there. But, I think the key point is the proliferation of smartphones.

It used to take subscribing in iTunes and syncing your iPod to your computer to get a podcast into your car (unless you were crazy enough to burn CDs of podcast episodes). No one I knew synced their iPod regularly enough to keep up with the release schedule of a podcast. And for many, taking away this barrier to entry was all that was necessary for them to get on board with podcasting. Now, with a smartphone all you have to do is open up your favorite podcast player and it automatically starts checking podcast feeds and displays their latest episodes to you.

Playing audio from a separate device in your car has been easy for about twenty years. Even if all you have is a cassette player, you’re only a cheap cassette player adapter away from playing audio from a separate device in your car. That’s why the car isn’t the key piece to the puzzle, the smartphone is.

Every person I know between the ages of 13 and 55 has a device that they carry around in their pocket, every single day, that’s capable of downloading or streaming podcast episodes. That’s what’s changed over the past ten years. Most of those same people had a car that could play music from their iPod (or other device) for a decade or more. The smartphone is what has changed. And, the smartphone is the reason podcasting has become so popular.

Omnistat

An iStat Menu-like app for iOS that gives you glance-able hardware statistics in notification center.

I never have the battery percentage indicator in my status bar because I like as little visual clutter as possible. I never need to know what my battery life is until it’s getting low enough to matter, and that’s when I turn the indicator on. I’ve wished that Apple would add this as an option in Settings — only showing battery percentage when the battery is low. Until then, Omnistat gives me easy access to my battery life percentage without having to add visual clutter to the status bar.

Omnistat also includes notification center widgets for CPU, Memory, Storage, and more. The app was developed by Mathieu Bolard and is well worth the $1.99 price tag.

Microsoft Fitness Band Leaked

It’s definitely more fitness band than app platform. The hardware looks nice, but it’s not going to stand out next to the competition from Jawbone and Fitbit. And, I’d venture to guess that the $199 price point doesn’t last. It’s too expensive compared to similar fitness bands and for just $150 you could get the Apple Watch with far more features.

Tim Cook: ‘I’m Proud to Be Gay’

Tim Cook, writing in Businessweek:

We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

Fighting for what he believes in and leading by example.

CurrentC Has Been Hacked

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

Within the last 36 hours, MCX says it learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the email addresses of some of its CurrentC pilot program participants and other individuals who had expressed interest in the app.

The group has now notified its merchant partners about the incident and is communicating directly with those individuals whose email addresses were involved, a company spokesperson tells us.

It’s never a good sign when their’s a data leak this early on in a payment system’s life. This is the first example of why CurrentC is destined to fail.

Pixelmator for iPad

This is one of the applications I’m most excited to try out when I purchase a new iPad next month.

The App That Holds iOS Back

Bradley Chambers on Mobile Safari:

Last week, I had to upload 2 PDF files to a WordPress powered website. This is something that iOS should be able to handle. I should be able to save the PDFs from my email to iCloud Drive. Mobile Safari should then let me upload those files into a browser upload window.

I don’t remember an instance in which I wished I could upload or download files on my iPhone or iPad. But, I can imagine it feeling pretty back breaking if that’s something you do often. Until Apple decides it’s a feature worth pursuing, users who are so inclined are stuck using kludgy workarounds in order to get the job done.

(Via Six Colors.)

This is My Next iPad

Apple has released the iPad Air 2 and it’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for. It’s thin, it’s light, and it’s fast. It’s been a long time since I purchased a tablet (the original iPad to be exact), but it’s finally time to upgrade.

One of the key reasons I wanted an iPad when it was first released in 2010 was to use it as a writing machine. But, one of the key areas of my writing workflow wasn’t realistically possible on the original iPad. I make heavy use of WordPress’s “Press This” bookmarklet and typically write the entirety of a Linked List post (and sometimes even feature articles) in the Press This compose window. This is a breeze on my MacBook Air — I find something I want to write about or link to, click the bookmarklet, write what I want to, and click publish. But, the original iPad didn’t have enough RAM to keep both the page I was linking to and the compose page in memory at the same time. As soon as I needed to look at the web page I’m referencing the compose page would be cleared from memory and everything I had written would be lost. It only took a few times before I completely gave up on writing this way on my iPad.

I tried a few other workflows, like composing my links and articles in the Notes app which would save my work if I ever had to go back and reference the web page, but it never stuck. Having to copy and paste everything I had written in Notes into the WordPress compose page in order to publish was enough of a barrier to entry that I dreaded ever even trying to write anything on my iPad. It wasn’t a great situation and left me where I am now — only writing on my MacBook Air and using my iPad a lot less often than I’d like.

And, then Apple announced the iPad Air 2. I’m sure last year’s iPad Air or even an iPad released earlier than that would have worked in my writing workflow, but the specs never jumped out at me the way the iPad Air 2’s did. The iPad Air 2 is the first Apple tablet  to feature 2GB of RAM. That’s huge. I never owned a computer with more than 2GB of RAM until 2008 when I bought my first iMac. And, 2GB of RAM gives me confidence that Safari won’t be clearing my WordPress compose pages from memory in the middle of writing.

Aside from the amount of RAM, the new iPad Air 2 also has an incredibly fast CPU. According to the benchmarks John Gruber has published, the iPad Air 2’s processor is nearly as fast at single-core processes and actually faster at multi-core processes than my MacBook Air (which scored 2294 for single-core and 4242 for multi-core processing). And, my MacBook Air certainly never feels slow.

Another big deal for me was the iPad Air 2’s new storage options. When I purchased the original iPad four-and-a-half years ago I bought the top of the line model — 64GB of storage with AT&T 3G. I could stand to live without cellular data — I have only purchased about 3-4 months worth of it during the time I’ve owned it — but I couldn’t see myself purchasing a 32GB model and I really didn’t want to spend $699 to get 64GB. Now I don’t have to compromise on storage. I can get the 64GB of storage that I’d prefer without having to break the bank in order to do it.

I’ll finally be able to use iOS 8 on an iPad and use all those apps that have passed me by because they lacked support for iOS 6. Now, I won’t be making the purchase until sometime next month. I plan on waiting until I can pay cash for it rather than buying it earlier on credit. But, I’m excited to be joining all the cool kids with their Retina displays and spending some time catching up on all the apps I’ve missed out on.

And if anyone’s interested, I’m getting a Space Gray, 64GB, Wi-Fi only model.

AT&T Locking Apple Interchangeable SIMs

I hope this doesn’t last long before customer outcry forces them to do the right thing.

OS X Yosemite Tips and Tricks

I wasn’t aware that you could record screencasts of your iOS device with QuickTime on Yosemite. And, what great attention to detail that QuickTime automatically cleans up the iOS status bar to show full battery, signal strength, and a predictable time of 9:41 AM.