Thoughts on the new MacBook

On removing ports The removal of all ports is bold – just like the removal of optical drives and ethernet ports in the original MacBook Air, and the removal of floppy drives and serial ports in previous desktops. This change seems even more extreme. I’m personally not ready for the removal of all these ports. I need wired audio for my best headphones, USB or an SD card reader for my digital camera (whose wireless capabilities are clunky), and up until recently a USB Yubikey for 2-factor authentication. Switching away from those is possible but too burdensome given the costs of new equipment and the effort of changing my routine. Moreover, most of the wireless alternatives that Apple prescribes are proprietary, like AirPlay and AirDrop, and I hesitate to become even more locked into the Apple ecosystem. Force Touch The new Force Touch trackpad clicking is intriguing. I imagine that ...(Read More)

Thoughts on the Secret app

The anonymous sharing app on iOS called Secret has been making the rounds for the past few weeks. Secret has been compared to everything from PostSecret and WikiLeaks to the “burn book” from the movie Mean Girls. The app has circulated some very shady and inappropriate content, but I’ve also seen some really touching and poignant stories shared on it. I think the idea has potential to serve a niche of mobile social media if it continues in the right direction, and I’m going to stick it out. Here are the observations I’ve made about Secret that interest me the most: It will be a challenge to eliminate inappropriate content, but they have a chance at it. There are countless examples of websites that allow anonymous participation where gossip and lewd content are rampant. The early days of Secret were no exception – I saw some embarrassing posts and comments ...(Read More)

User interface interactions I like

I’ve found that it’s much easier to criticize bad user interfaces than it is to celebrate good ones: when a UI has usability issues you get frustrated; when a UI works well, you carry on with what you were doing. So I’d like to take the time to recognize a few interfaces with interactions that I find delightful. Cameras with helpful error messages I have an Olympus Pen E-P3 camera that I use a couple times a month. There are a variety of mistakes I commonly make when quickly taking out my camera for a photo, like leaving the lens cap on, or starting off in the wrong camera mode. These mistakes take valuable seconds of fumbling to recognize and correct, which often means missing the opportunity for an action shot, or making people in a group pose wait around awkwardly. Another mistake I make is leaving the 14-42mm lens ...(Read More)

Exploring the timescale of iOS’s Timer

Yesterday, I installed the iOS 7 beta on my phone. The last 24 hours have been a wild ride of Jony Ive redesign, and I could go on for days about the changes. I’m interested in how personal computing is evolving in general, and right now it’s being driven by mobile, which is turn is largely influenced by Apple. With regard to personal computing, I’m particularly curious about the apps Apple chose to include shortcuts to in iOS 7′s Control Center. After iOS 7 was announced, I wrote a Facebook post about the exclusion of the Notes app from Control Center. One app Apple did include a shortcut to is the Timer tool in the Clock app. (In the beta, even though the shortcut shows a timer icon the shortcut, it actually links to the most recently used feature in the Clock app.) I’ve used the Timer on my iPhone ...(Read More)

Whack an App

In celebration of the iPhone 5 being officially announced today, I created a neat little JavaScript game of an iOS device receiving notifications. It’s like Whack-a-Mole, but if you’re an iOS device owner, you might find that the task of seeking out and squashing new badges comes quite naturally! Whack an App