Posts made in October, 2008

College Collaboration Tools

Posted on Oct 26, 2008 in Opinions, The web

This semester we’ve been assigned a lot of coursework that needs to be worked on in teams, with each team  usually consisting of around 3-6 people. To help us share files, work on document together and generally stay in sync, we’ve started using a few different online services…

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The New, Uncrippled Macbook.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 in Mac, Opinions

With the introduction of the new aluminum Macbooks, Apple has finally dropped their long-standing policy of offering a “crippled” entry-level Notebooks. For years now the iBooks and Macbooks have been limited in one way or another in order to distinguish them from their “Pro” cousins. 

Whether G3 vs. G4, Combodrive vs. Superdrive, Mirroring vs. Screen Spanning, Plastic vs. Aluminum or Integrated Graphics vs. Dedicated Graphics, Apple’s low-end offerings over the years have always included some kind of “gotcha” to keep them from cannibalizing Powerbook / Macbook Pro sales.

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Jobs’ Reasoning for Rejecting Political iPhone app

Posted on Oct 12, 2008 in Opinions

(This isn’t really a new story, but I didn’t see it get much coverage despite arguably being one of the more interesting iPhone app rejection stories – so I’m bringing it up now a week or two later)

Freedomtime” is basically a countdown app that lets users track George W. Bush’s last days in office. It’s obviously designed to poke fun at the current US administration, but isn’t really overly offensive in my opinion.

The application was rejected by Apple, so the developer wrote Steve an email. Steve responded personally (in keeping with the semi-new communication strategy Apple has been making use of) with the following statement:

Even though my personal political leanings are democratic, I think this app will be offensive to roughly half our customers.  What’s the point?

    Steve

 

It’s an interesting response for several reasons. First off he voluntarily reveals his personal political leanings. Whilst it’s hardly a secret that Jobs is a supporter of the democrats (Al Gore is on Apple’s board and public records of political donations are easy to find) you don’t often hear CEO’s admit it in public for PR reasons. 

In fact, Jobs actually spells out those reasons: Personal political preferences are not often brought up out of fear of alienating customers. But “personal” is the key word here – if Steve is deciding not to let his own political leanings sway him into approving the app for political reasons, shouldn’t it follow that an app also  shouldn’t be rejected for purely political reasons?

By Apple’s standards, it would seem this app is objectionable, whilst the Barack Obama campaign app isn’t. I’d agree with that assessment as I’d wager most people would. But where do you draw the line? Does this mean that political apps are okay, as long as they don’t poke fun? Who makes the distinction between objectionable and non-objectionable political content?

Removing Apps for business considerations (Netshare, Podcaster) is one thing, but I think Apple is really skating on thin ice by rejecting apps solely by their content – political or otherwise.

(Screenshot and quote from the developers blog)

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OS X Curiosity: Clippings

Posted on Oct 4, 2008 in Mac

Leopard is the 6th major OS X upgrade, and as such feels very refined and polished. Nearly every nook and cranny has been through a number of iterations and most features feel very well thought out.

Sometimes though, you’ll come across features or behaviours that leave you scratching your head. Today we’ll take a look at one OS feature that feels as though it was added with 10.0 and forgotten about ever since: Clippings.

Text Clippings

If you’ve ever selected a bit of text in Safari and dragged it to your Desktop, OS X will save it in a “Text Clipping” file. Double-clicking this file will open a small window displaying your text. That’s all you can actually do in that window though: You can’t select, drag or edit the text in any way.

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Apple Drops the iPhone NDA

Posted on Oct 1, 2008 in Opinions

So after a few months of controversy, Apple has finally dropped the NDA for iPhone software that has been released. This effectively allows developers to free discuss any matters regarding the iPhone software available to the public, but of course prevents them discussing unreleased or upcoming code.

Apple also gives a reason for keeping the NDA in place for so long: They claim the NDA gave them an additional layer of protection for the innovations found within the iPhone’s software and that they’ve now dropped it in favour of promoting the platform amongst developers.

I see this as Apple’s reaction to all the recent flak they’ve been getting over the “closed” nature of the iPhone in general… perhaps new AppStore submission guidelines are on the way as well?

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