The Initial Charge Linked List

The Initial Charge Linked List is a frequently updated list of interesting links and commentary. You can subscribe to the Linked List with it’s dedicated RSS feed or you can follow along on the main feed, which includes both Linked List items and the feature articles from this site.

OneShot, a One Week Design Case Study

Speaking of OneShot, Daniel Zarick wrote about how the app came together and discussed some of the design decisions. I especially enjoyed the bit about their omission of share extensions — I don’t know anyone who uses them regularly either and rarely use them myself.


An interesting new iOS app that allows you to highlight and share screenshots of webpages on Twitter. I wasn’t aware of this trend until I saw Joe Caiati’s piece about it on dot info. I’ve seen people tweeting screenshots of their notes application as a way to write more than 140 characters without the use of a third party service, but screenshots of webpages with highlighted text is brand new to me.

I’ve mostly ignored this “text shots” (or “screenshorts”) trend until Neven Mrgan noted one of OneShot’s most compelling features:

It also promises to do something magical: figure out from your Safari screenshot the actual URL of the source page. Or rather, it promises to try it. The screenshot doesn’t actually include the URL, so what (I think) the app does is, it runs OCR on the URL at the top of the page, then checks that website for recent articles.

Now here’s where magic meets honesty: OneShot shares its uncertainty with you. If it’s not totally sure about which article you want to highlight, it has you choose it.

OneShot’s ability to figure out the URL to the webpage you’ve taken a screenshot of is fascinating to me. And, I love that the app will guess and give you options if it doesn’t know for sure. It’s much better for the app to ask rather than simply publishing its guess and getting it wrong.

For myself and many others who already have an outlet for this type of quoting and linking, I don’t expect text shots to go too much further than a few experimental tweets. But, I could easily see this trend catching on with Twitter users who are looking to share links with more specificity.

Ars Technica Goes Hands-on with HTC One M9

The other android smartphone announcement I paid attention to today was the HTC One M9. I like the design of the device a lot more than the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge and I think keeping the design virtually unchanged from last year’s model was a smart idea. There isn’t much of a reason to build a drastically different phone design every single year. And, I think their industrial designers might be able to come up with more interesting design changes if they only need to do so once every two years.

Live from Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Launch Event

The Verge’s live blog from today’s Samsung event. They announced the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Samsung Pay. I always try to keep an eye on what the major Android handset manufacturers are up to. But, I don’t see anything interesting here.

Engineer’s Disguised Apple Watch During Testing

A few interesting bits from Brian Chen’s recent piece on the Apple Watch, published by The New York Times:

In an effort to maintain secrecy, engineers testing the watch outside the office even created fake casing that made the Apple device resemble a Samsung watch, one person said.

This reminds me of how Apple concealed the iPhone 4 while engineers were testing them in public. It’s funny that Apple’s devices are typically small enough to fit in a case the size of their competitors’ products.

The company also developed a yet-to-be-announced feature called Power Reserve, a mode that will run the watch on low energy but display only the time, according to one employee.

This is undoubtedly due to Apple’s use of AMOLED displays in their smartwatches, which use considerably less power while displaying primarily black screens. That’s also how Apple has managed to get a full day’s worth of battery inside the Watch — by designing user interfaces with black backgrounds they reap the benefits of an incredibly energy efficient display technology.

Apple will release the watch a bit later than it had hoped because of technology challenges. It probably didn’t help that several important employees jumped ship. Nest Labs, the smart appliance maker that was acquired by Google last year, poached a few engineers who were the very best on the watch team, according to two people.

Talent retention is tough, especially when, often, the perception of Apple is that they’ve run out of ideas or aren’t doing anything interesting anymore. Engineers, designers, and developers want to work on exciting project. And, I can imagine that another company’s job offers start to look really tempting after you’be been working on the same device for 18 months.

Pebble Time

The folks behind the wildly successful Pebble smartwatch have launched a Kickstarter campaign for their second-generation wearable, the Pebble Time. It took only two days for the campaign to break the record for the most funded Kickstarter campaign of all time (previously held by the original Pebble). They currently have over $11.5 million pledged by backers with 27 days remaining.

The Pebble Time features a color e-ink display, a microphone for input, and a more polished user interface. I think it was very wise of them to launch the campaign when they did — coming to market with preorders two days before Apple announced their media event, scheduled for March, 9. This gives them plenty of time to sell preorders before Apple gives more concrete information about pricing and launch dates for the Apple Watch.

Photos for OS X and Hard Linked iPhoto Imports

Jason Snell discusses Photos for OS X’s use of hard links when importing your iPhoto library. I Like that Apple thought ahead when developing Photos, giving users the option to go back to using iPhoto without also doubling the amount of disk space that your photos take up. It was clever on their part considering how many MacBook Airs with reletively small SSDs are still in use (many of which are only 64GB).

Vesper Update Adds Native Support for iPad

I’ve been using Vesper since the day it launched and would easily put it in my top ten apps list if I was to make one. Earlier this week, I noted on Twitter that I wished there was an iPad optimized Vesper client and was pleasantly surprised yesterday when an update was released that added iPad support.

John Gruber, writing on the Vesper weblog:

Now that Vesper supports all iOS device layouts, we’re raising the regular price for the app to $9.99. With fast, reliable, unlimited sync, we think that’s a great value. But for a limited time, we’re making this version available for just $7.99. And it’s a free update for everyone who’s already purchased any previous version of Vesper, all the way back to 1.0.

I commend the folks at Q Branch for moving to sustainable pricing. I would have gladly paid $9.99 for Vesper because it’s a great app that’s incredibly well made. I hope other developers follow Q Branch’s lead and charge sane prices for their applications.

The App Store’s race to the bottom is bad for developers’ bottom line and rewards quantity over quality. I want more well built, thoughtful applications in the App Store and less poorly supported, often abandoned apps. And I for one, am willing to pay for that quality and, whenever the opportunity arises, encourage my friends and family to do so as well.

Tapbots is Currently Developing a Major Update to Tweetbot 3

From the news section of their newly designed website:

We are also working on getting major updates to Tweetbot 3 for iOS out. This will include landscape mode for iOS (finally), and the highly anticipated update to the iPad version. We plan on putting a lot of time and love into making Tweetbot a better product this year.

They’ve removed Convertbot and Pastebot from the App Store, as Convertbot’s functionality has been rolled into Calcbot and they don’t currently have the time it would require to update Pastebot for iOS 8. They’ve also decided to reduce Weightbot’s pricing to free.

On Software That’s Incompatible with New Operating Systems

Jeremy Horowitz, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

But what happens when an app — marketed as compatible with current iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches — is never updated for the latest version of iOS, and either stops working after an iOS upgrade, or never works at all on new devices?

This is one of the few things that worries me about the switch from physical media to digital objects.

I can still plug my SNES into my television and play Mega Man X2. Neither Capcom nor Nintento has to maintain a server for me to play the game, and there’s no need to worry about incompatible software updates. Whether I want to play the game now or five years from now, it’s going to work.

The same can’t be said about the games or apps of today. At some point in the future Apple might release a sort-of-Rosetta for iOS that’s capable of running applications that are no longer supported by their developers. The apps would run inside of a container that mimics older versions of iOS. But, that still wouldn’t work for games or apps that require an online connection to the developer’s server (that likely no longer exists).

My primary concern is that children who are growing up now will have no way of playing the games they’re nostalgic for in twenty years. That is unless, the developer decides to rerelease the game for a new platform. But it’s going to cost you, and that’s assuming the company who owns it is still even around in twenty years.

Spring Forward

Apple has sent out invites to a special media event to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on March 9. I expect we’ll get another look at the Apple Watch and they’ll also probably debut the new MacBook Air that has been rumored for several months.

Thoughts on Concierge and Crowded Genius Bars

Joe Caiati, on Concierge — Apple’s new Genius Bar appointment system:

This initiative seems like a bandaid to the issue of overcrowding at the Bar and I can already imagine the influx of people showing up saying that they were in an area with no service or that they never received the message which will cause the Apple employee to try to squeeze that person in sooner and would then put the Genius Bar wait time behind even further.

Genius Bars are already overcrowded, and it’s going to take a lot more than a new appointment system to help improve the situation (especially if Apple’s proposed solution could introduce new headaches). I don’t claim to have the definitive answer, but I’d probably start by giving Apple Store managers more hours to staff the store. Improving the customer to employee ratio could go a long way towards making a trip to the Apple Store more enjoyable, whether your visiting the Genius Bar or simply buying some new headphones.

Apple World Today

Forgive me for neglecting to link to the spiritual successor of TUAW, Apple World Today. The new site, written and produced by Steve Sande, Dave Caolo, and Kelly Hodgkins, launched earlier this month and is being partial supported by readers on Patreon.

I subscribed to the RSS feed as soon as the site launched and encourage you to do so as well.

Using QuickTime to Create iOS Screen Recordings

From Apple’s App Preview page on their developer site:

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you can capture real-time footage of your app directly from your iOS device. Simply connect your device to your Mac using the Lightning connector and it will be automatically available as a video camera. You can capture anything you’re doing on-screen directly to your Mac using QuickTime Player.

This is a handy little tip (albeit dated at this point) that’s worth keeping in mind when I finally upgrade to Yosemite. I still have no concrete plans to upgrade, but I’d be willing to bet I’ll finally make the switch once Apple releases Photos for OS X.

Apple Watch Straps Will Be Available to Purchase Separately at Launch

Jordan Kahn, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

So far Apple has only shown the Watch in pre-assembled collections, which reduces their potential for customization, but our sources say that Apple’s retail outlets will be stocked on day one with individual straps so customers can easily mix and match the looks of their Watches.

I would’ve been surprised if this wasn’t the case. But, I’d also expect that some of the bands will be in limited quantities or will only be available in-box with the more expensive Apple Watch models.

Should Apple Improve iPhone Battery Life, or Just Battery Cases?

Jeremy Horowitz discusses Apple’s options for improving iPhone battery life. Personally, I’m still quite happy with my iPhone 5S’s battery life, and it’s nearly a year-and-a-half old at this point. So, I don’t really feel like Apple needs to improve battery life. However, I’d love to shave a few more millimeters off of the thickness of my iPhone — Ever since I started using the iPad Air 2, my iPhone 5S has felt thick and clunky by comparison. I suppose this puts me in the camp advocating for improved battery cases, even though I’ve never used one.

YouTube Kids

Turns out it is available for iPad at launch, despite prior reports. Not even Google is foolish enough to go Android only out of the gate.

On the Pricing of Apple Watch

John Gruber’s well thought out piece on how Apple will price the Apple Watch and Watch band accessories.

Toyota Has No Plans to Adopt CarPlay or Android Auto in US

Aaron Kessler and Brian Chen, reporting for The New York Times:

John Hanson, the national manager of Toyota’s advanced technology communications, said while the company talked frequently with both Google and Apple, it currently had no plans to adopt Android Auto or CarPlay in the United States.

Something tells me this is a foolish decision. It seems like Android Auto and CarPlay would be worth making available, at least as an add-on option in new vehicles.

‘Of Course Apple is Working on a Car’

MG Siegler makes the case that Apple’s attempt to enter the car market is inevitable. They’ve outgrown their competitors and need to find something major in order to continue growing at their current pace. And, the automobile industry would be the easiest market for them to enter that’s capable of generating revenue at the scale they’re looking for.

YouTube to Release New App for Kids

The Wall Street Journal has learned that Google will be releasing a new application for smartphones and tablets, on Monday, called YouTube Kids. The app will feature episodes from Thomas the Tank Engine, Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, Mother Goose Club, and other popular shows.

I find it interesting that the app won’t be available for iPad at launch. I suppose if you can’t convince third-party developers to release for Android first you should probably at least do it yourself.

Make a Film with iPad

The new advertisement features several groups of high school students as they shoot film projects with an iPad.

Apple to Release First-Ever iOS Public Betas

Mark Gurman, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

In an effort to eliminate bugs from upcoming iOS versions ahead of their general releases, Apple plans to launch the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, according to multiple people briefed on the plans. […] Apple intends to release the upcoming iOS 8.3 as a public beta via the company’s existing AppleSeed program in mid-March, according to the sources.

This could help alleviate a lot of the random annoying bugs that have plagued recent releases of iOS. I doubt I’ll be interested in running a beta version of iOS on any of my devices, though. The last thing I want is for the devices I count on to become unreliable.

Mark’s also been told that iOS 9 will be announced at WWDC this June with a public beta release throughout the summer. Sources have previously told him that iOS 9 will be a Snow Leopard-like release that focuses on performance and stability instead of user-facing features.

I think Apple would be wise to take a release cycle to shrink their focus on new features and put their efforts behind fixing bugs and increasing performance and stability. iOS 8 is a great operating system, but there’s still small problems that crop up here and there for many users. Taking the time to get rid of the vast majority of those annoyances will be much better for the ecosystem as a whole than adding another 5-10 new features would be.

Levels of Apple Watch Readiness

David Smith on having your applications ready for Apple Watch on day one:

I think the Apple Watch is really compelling as a device, and think that in the long run it will be a significant market for application developers.

There is unfortunately no shortcut to gaining expertise in a subject. You can only truly understand something by working on it, by immersing yourself in it, by building terrible prototypes and throwing them away. You cannot throw away what you haven’t made.

His recommendation is that, at this point, developers should have at least built solid second drafts for their applications and spent a reasonable amount of time reading documention and weblog posts about WatchKit. I’m still not sold on how successful the Apple Watch will actually be, but there’s no harm in learning about the platform and there’s a lot to be gained from being one of the first developers to market with high quality Apple Watch apps.

Cable TV Shows Are Sped Up to Squeeze in More Ads

Just in case you needed another reason to cancel your cable subscription.

Viewing Your Cable Modem’s Diagnostic Page

DSL Reports has compiled a list of cable modems with instructions on how to access their diagnostic pages. From there you can usually view your modem’s signal level, uptime, and error logs. This could come in handy if you’re ever trying to troubleshoot problems with your internet connection.

(Via Lifehacker.)

The Experts Apple Hired to Build an Electric Car

I wasn’t too sure about this whole car rumor at first, but at this point there’s just too much evidence showing that Apple is working on something. And, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck — or car, as the case may be.

Calcbot for iOS Updated

Tapbots has released a long awaited update to Calcbot. There was a time when Calcbot was my snap-favorite calculator app for the iPhone, but I eventually switched to Llumino because Calcbot wasn’t (until yesterday) optimized for 4-inch displays. This update addresses that issue, adds an in-app purchase for unit conversions (for $1.99), and sports a new coat of paint for good measure.

I’ve only spent a few hours with it installed on my iPhone, but I’m very happy with it so far. I do think the new sound effects are a little jarring compared to previous versions of the app — I don’t find the high pitched glassy clicks while entering in calculations to be very appealing. I’ll stick with it as my default iPhone calculator app for a few more days and see if it sticks, but I’d definitely prefer they make the sound effects a little more subtle.

I am disappointed that this update doesn’t include a today view widget. While using my iPad, I often find myself in need of a calculator and having one a single swipe away is immeasurably convenient. I hope Tapbots decides to add it in the future — until then I’ll conline using PCalc on my iPad

Chris Breen Joins Apple

Chris Breen, writing on his personal weblog:

Just a note to say that I’ve left Macworld to work for a Cupertino-based technology company you may be familiar with. […]

As part of this change I’ll be leaving the public stage as Chris Breen Technology Guy (though I may still pop up as Chris Breen Musician Guy at a saloon near you). When the mood strikes I’ll continue writing here about topics unrelated to technology, compose the occasional podcast theme, post beach pictures on Flickr, and spout the usual nonsense on Twitter (where you can unfollow me @BodyofBreen). Otherwise, until further notice, my technology writing/speaking/radio/video/podcasting days are at an end.

It’s sad that there won’t be any more technology articles written by or podcasts featuring Chris Breen, but I’m sure there’s plenty of reasons for him to be excited about the future.

Google Pulls Sparrow from App Stores

Ingrid Lunden, reporting for Techcrunch:

[Google] appears to have pulled the Sparrow iOS and Mac apps from their respective Apple App Stores. Google, as you may remember, acquired the French startup Sparrow, including its staff, its email management apps and its technology, back in 2012.

I’ve been using Sparrow for OS X for years — I guess it’s finally time to find a new email client.

Pinterest Announces ‘App Pins’

Julie Black, Pinterest Product Manager, writing on Pinterest’s official weblog:

Now if you’re on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll see another kind of Pin: app Pins. Let’s say you’re Pinning workout inspiration to your Marathon Training board. If you see a fitness app that helps you reach your goals, you can download it right from Pinterest.

When you come across an app Pin, tap Install to download the app right to your iPhone or iPad without ever leaving Pinterest (you’ll only see app Pins when you’re using the Pinterest app on your iPhone or iPad).

Interesting collaboration between Apple and Pinterest. Although it’s only been a few days, I wonder how successful it will be given that every Pinterest user I’ve talked to hasn’t seen any app pins yet.

FiftyThree Removes in-App Purchases from ‘Paper’

All of the features that used to be hidden behind an in-app purchase are now free when you open the app. Rather than charging for the features, FiftyThree will instead be making all of their money from sales of their Pencil drawing stylus.

My iPad Air 2 should be delivered sometime tomorrow and I expect Paper to be one of the first applications I download from the App Store.

Mike Loves Becky

As many of you already know (if you follow me on Twitter), my girlfriend and I got engaged this past fall. After ten wonderful years together we decided that we were at a perfect point in our lives to get married.

We haven’t set a date yet, but our current plan is to have the wedding in spring or summer of 2016. There’s a lot of planning left to do, but I couldn’t be happier to be spending the rest of my life with the best person I’ve ever met.

So it being Valentines Day, I decided to share the website I’ve been working on for our wedding. There’s not much there at this point — just a photo gallery and a short, two paragraph story of the proposal — but I’ll be adding more to it as we finalize our plans and have more information to share.

This was my first experience building something in Squarespace and I’m thoroughly impressed. The interface was a little confusing at first, but once I started digging around I got the hang of it and had something that looked great very quickly.

Once I spend some more time with Squarespace’s features, I might write a more in depth feature about my experience building with it. But, that will have to be the subject of a future article.

Apple to Cease Sales of Aperture with the Release of Photos for OS X

From Apple’s Aperture webpage:

When Photos for OS X is available this spring, Aperture will no longer be available for purchase from the Mac App Store.

Obviously Aperture will continue to work as it does today, but I doubt Apple will spend much time making sure it continues to work with subsequent updates to OS X.

But from what I’ve heard, Adobe Lightroom has been ahead of Aperture for the past few years. I’ve never used Aperture or Lightroom personally, but if Apple’s upcoming Photos app doesn’t seem like your cup of tea or you’re looking for something a little bit more powerful, I’d suggest giving Lightroom a try.

(Via Cult of Mac.)

Darkroom for iOS

Darkroom, a powerful new photo editor and sharing app for iOS, is now available for free on the App Store. One of Darkroom’s more powerful features (Curves) is only available after a $2.99 in-app purchase, but given how much control and precision it gives you while editing your photos I think it’s well worth the cost.

I’ve been beta testing Darkroom for a few months and I’ve been really impressed with it. The developers have managed to get an incredible number of editing controls into the app considering it only being a 1.0 release. From preset filters, undo and revert to original, and their raw RGB control feature their calling “Curves,” Darkroom is shaping up to be a staple application in my iPhone’s photography folder.

They’ve also produced a great introduction video showcasing the application’s more impressive features.

WSJ: Apple Working on Automobile Project

Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Ramsey, reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

Apple has several hundred employees working secretly toward creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter. They said the project, code-named “Titan,” has an initial design of a vehicle that resembles a minivan, one of these people said.

Apple may have found a way to spend some of that $178 billion they have. I imagine developing and mass producing automobiles isn’t cheap, but it sounds like a great way to continue growing the largest company in the world into something even bigger.

Get ready for a slew of concept designs and thousands of writers to discuss what might set an Apple automobile apart from their potential competition.

Tim Cook at the Goldman Sachs Conference

In addition to the aforelinked recording hosted by Apple, Serenity Caldwell has published a full transcript of the talk on iMore.

Apple Rejecting Apps with Violent Screenshots

Marco Arment regarding the recent kerfuffle over Apple’s rejection of iOS games that depict violence in their icon and/or screenshots:

The App Store has parental controls and requires all apps to bear age-appropriate content ratings. While violence, etc. has always been permitted in apps, Apple has always required that all app metadata — title, description, icon, and screenshots — be kid-proof with the lowest rating.

Apple has a tendency to be a little inconsistent with their application rejections, but this isn’t an example of that. As Marco points out, Apple’s rules about what isn’t allowed in application screenshots is very clear.

Apple Now Accepting 4GB App Binaries

Apple’s maximum application size limit has been doubled from 2GB to 4GB. I imagine the 2GB limit severely hindered what game developers were able to do when it came to high resolution textures in larger-scale titles. And with the incredible benchmark performance we’ve seen from the iPad Air 2, this is a change that needed to happen sooner than later.

On Apple Watch Edition’s Digital Crown

Interesting note from Dan Moren, writing on Six Colors:

Something odd struck me recently as I perused the Apple Watch product pages. Several pictures of the Apple Watch Edition—aka the Super-Fancy Gold-That’s-Better-Than-Gold Spectacular model—show the center of the Digital Crown as different colors: I count black, white, navy blue, and red.

I think his theory that you’d choose a color for your digital crown when you purchase the device is correct. I doubt Apple would expect anyone to keep track of multiple tiny pieces like these. But, what’s the likelihood that Apple could swap them out for you if you took your Watch into an Apple Store?

YouTube Now Defaults to HTML5 Video

I don’t think there’s a website on the planet that made extensive use of Flash on the scale that YouTube did, and now they’re defaulting to HTML5.

What You Need to Know About Photos for OS X

A really informative FAQ about Photos for OS X by Serenity Caldwell detailing everything you need to know about the app and iCloud Photo Library service.

Why the iPad Became Federico Viticci’s Main Computer

I really enjoyed reading this piece by Federico on MacStories. I’ll be ordering my iPad Air 2 in about a week and I hope I can get even half the use out of it that Federico has. Listening to podcasts, interacting with Twitter, reading, and writing are all at the top of my list of things I’d like to use my iPad for. I don’t expect the iPad to replace my MacBook completely, but if I can get most of what I need done on it then I’ll be exceptionally happy with the purchase.

Apple Talks to TV Programmers About Web TV Service

Peter Kafka, writing for Re/code:

Industry executives say Apple is in talks with TV programmers about deals that would allow Apple to offer an “over the top” pay-TV service, like the one Dish has started selling with its Sling TV product, and the one Sony is getting ready to launch. […]

Apple has shown programmers demos of the proposed service, sources say. But talks seem to be in the early stages, which means terms like pricing and timing aren’t close to being ironed out. Several programmers say they’ve yet to start talks with Apple at all.

I would love for Apple to release a service like this, but I don’t know how interested I am in paying for another media service. At some point all of this unbundling will lead to monthly costs near that of cable service, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid.

Apple’s Photos for OS X Preview Page

I make extensive use of Faces in iPhoto to build smart albums that include every photo I own with a given set of people in it. I find this really handy when I’m trying to find a specific photo in a sea of nearly 8,000 shots in my library. And although I’ve never purchased a photo book from Apple, I plan on doing so with the photos taken at my wedding next year. I suppose I may have overlooked it in the past, but up until yesterday I hadn’t seen any confirmation that Apple’s new Photos for OS X was going to include both of these features. I’m glad to finally know for sure.

Tim Cook: Apple Watch Will Be Released in April

A little later than Ming-Chi Kuo predicted, but still within the “early 2015″ timeframe that Apple originally announced if you subscribe to their thinking of splitting the year into three equally sized chunks (early, middle, and late).

A New Browser for Our Friends

Vivaldi is a new web browser from Jon von Tetzchner, former CEO of Opera. It’s built on the Chromium rendering engine and is targeted at power users, with Quick Commands, Speed Dials, and Tab Stacks being a few of its landmark features.

I’ve spent a little while using it and it feels remarkably stable for a technical preview. I can’t say I’m a fan of the browser’s design, though — I don’t like that portions of the interface change colors based on the web page you’re viewing, but to each their own.

I’m not optimistic that Vivaldi will last, simply because the market is so much more mature than it was a decade ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a larger variety of successful web browsers, but I don’t see any evidence that people are willing to switch to a new one without the help of a multi-billion dollar company promoting it.

In Honor of Old Friends

Soon-to-be former managing editor of TUAW, Dave Caolo, on the recent decision to close the site:

After a decade with TUAW, the fun has come to an end. Our parent company is shuttering the site as part of an internal reorganization. I’ll miss lots of things about my job — like it being a job that provides a paycheck — including the people. […]

This is the second time in six years that I’ve lost a job due to the decision of a parent company. That’s like winning the lottery in hell. The FREAKING OUT will continue, mostly because my bank refuses to accept tears and/or groveling as payment on my mortgage. But I’ll figure it out.

Oh, and I’ll be writing here again. Only now I drink the cheap-ass tea.

I’m excited for Dave Caolo to be writing on 52 Tiger again and can’t wait to see what the future brings for him. I’ve been listening to his podcasts Home Work and Board Games Weekly for several months and would highly recommend them.

And, I hope he’ll be able to return to his expensive green tea with the Japanese characters on the package soon.

The Pirate Bay Comes Back Online


TPB is back online today, more than seven weeks after its servers were raided . The notorious torrent site is operating from the familiar .se domain and it appears that data loss is minimal.

Set aside your opinions on the morality of piracy — it’s incredible that The Pirate Bay has lasted this long and has come back from as many government raids and takedowns as it has.

Outlook for iOS

Released yesterday morning, Outlook for iOS supports Exchange,, iCloud, Google, and Yahoo emails. The app looks really well designed. I’d pay a lot more attention to Microsoft if they spent more time building software like this.

Some of the more notable features:

  • Outlook separates your email into two tabs — “Focused” and Other. All of your important email appear in the Focused tab and if you ever move emails from one tab to the other, Outlook will learn where you’d prefer emails like it to appear in the future.
  • One-click unsubscribe buttons for email newsletters.
  • Customizable swipe gestures for common actions like archive, delete, move, flag, mark as read/unread, or schedule.
  • Outlook’s schedule feature is especially interesting to me. Scheduling allows you to temporarily remove emails from your inbox for the selected period of time to get them out of your way until you’re ready to process them.

I’m not too keen on Outlook having calendar and contacts built-in, but it all depends on how they’re implemented. Until I get to try the app for myself, I can’t say whether I’d like it or not. But, I’m not too optimistic.

Once Microsoft adds IMAP support, which Microsoft’s Jon Orton claims is “coming soon,” I’ll probably live with it as my primary email client for a few weeks to see how it fares. Until then, I’ll be sticking with my current favorite email client for iOS, Dispatch.