Posts made in January, 2009

iPhoto ’09 UI Observations

Posted on Jan 31, 2009 in Mac, Opinions, UI Design

Good artists copy, great artists steal.

We all know that Apple sets the bar for UI design in its own applications and most 3rd party apps try to follow Apple’s lead. That makes it all the more interesting to see Apple “borrowing” design cue’s from 3rd party developers.

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Productivity app: Isolator

Posted on Jan 24, 2009 in Mac

Isolator” is a great little app that can help you to concentrate on whatever you’re working on by hiding background windows. This basically gives you a “single-window” mode and helps you to avoid distractions that prevent you from getting your work done.

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Microsoft unveils DRM-laden mobile music store

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 in Opinions

After the last MSN Music DRM fiasco, you would have thought Microsoft would have learnt their lesson. However, the new MSN Mobile Music service locks music purchases to the phone they were bought on. 

How does Microsoft defend this policy? Hugh Griffiths offered this gem of an interview with PC Pro. In it he offers a few words of wisdom:

Why has Microsoft gone back to DRM when the vast majority of music services have ditched it?
At the moment, to be honest with you, we don’t have the functionality in-house to provide a mechanism for transferring between mobile phones and PC. We don’t have that functionality available”.

Seriously folks, how could they possibly ever build that sort of functionality in-house

If I buy these songs on your service – and they’re locked to my phone – what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months’ time?

Well, I think you know the answer to that.

I think we do.

Can you really expect people to buy music that’s locked to a device they upgrade every 12 to 18 months?

I didn’t realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days.

Then you might be in the wrong job Hugh.

Still, you have to give him credit for trying…

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Spotlight suggestion: Tab between groups

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 in Mac, Opinions, UI Design

picture-151I’ve gone back and forth between using Spotlight or using a 3rd party tool (I’ve given up on Quicksilver, but I have high hopes for Google’s Quick Search Box by the same developer) might be to quickly access apps and files. I’d prefer to use a built-in tool to be honest, but Spotlight never seems to quite cut it.

A big improvement would be the ability to tab between the different result categories, similar to the way you can tab between other UI elements That would allow users to get to their goal faster and would also make the behaviour feel more consistent with the rest of the operating system.

A few additional commands or the ability to launch web searches would also be nice, but better search results and navigation of those results would be a great start.

Here’s hoping for 10.6!

Update:

Aaand of course I just couldn’t find the right shortcut.  In the comments my colleague pointed out a tweet by Scott Stevenson with exactly the shortcut I was after. Thanks Albert & Scott!

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White MacBook now with 2.0Ghz and Nvidia 9400M graphics?

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 in Opinions

The Apple store is currently showing the white MacBook as “new” and shipping with NVidia 9400m graphics – the same chipset used in the new aluminum MacBooks. The speed is now also just 2.0 Ghz, down from 2.1 Ghz previously.

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It looks as though Apple has decided to move that model over to the new platform used in all the other current generation MacBooks.

However: the white model retains its Firewire 400 port, which might actually make the “cheap” plastic MacBook more interesting to some customers than the Firewire-less aluminum models.

Apple Store Link

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