I never thought I’d say this, but Gizmodo gets it. At least Jesus Diaz does, and he always seemed like the smart one. This is right up there with Josh Topolsky’s editorial a while back. It takes guts to write this stuff with all those commenters waiting to pounce.

skeuomorphic overload

Normally I’m pro-skeuomorphic software design. I use SpeedTask every day, and I don’t mind Calendar and Contacts on the iPad at all. There’s something to be said for providing people with an instantly familiar and timeless interface. A strictly digital interface like Windows Phone 7 might alienate or confuse users due to the lack of traditional real-world reference points, but an app that mimics real life has a lower learning curve.

Apple has apparently decided to shower the skeuomorphism all over Lion, bringing as much of iOS back to the Mac as possible. iCal was already redesigned to look more like the iPad’s version, but the second developer release takes it to a new level:

9 to 5 Mac has the scoop on the massive change in iCal’s window design, and all I can say is “holy leather!” I don’t know whatever happened to the Human Interface Guidelines, but I’m pretty sure this breaks almost all of them. Just look at those puffy buttons! Remember back when Leopard was released and Steve touted “unified window design” as a feature? Times change I suppose. In 6 months this redesign will be the norm, and we’ll just have to adapt. Hopefully Lion’s UI won’t suffer too much by making every app this colorful; we’ll just have to wait for the final version. Just please, please don’t bring back the brushed metal.

open is as open does

Apple is obviously the bad guy in the mobile gaming space, removing the DOS emulators and giving the C64 emulator a hard time. You can’t find any classic emulators for GameBoy or PlayStation at all (unless you jailbreak of course, then it’s easy). Besides with the release of the truly exceptionally-marketed Sony XPeria Play, who wants to play any games on a touchscreen anyways? Apple is clearly doomed – there is no easy way to play outdated games designed for decades-old consoles on their 2011 phone.

But wait! Engadget tells us that Google just pulled ZodTTD’s PSX4Droid emulator from its market. I thought Android was open and the market was unregulated! That’s what makes it so awesome, right? Well, it looks like Google prefers not to upset its handset manufacturers by offering a way to pirate the very games Sony now hopes to sell in its new XPeria store. Who would have thought?

Now it’s just as easy to install a PS emulator on Android as it is on iOS. Jailbreak (or root), void your warranty, and off you go. No big deal, unless you need a repair or tech support. Besides, who do you even talk to about Android support anyway? My guess is internet forums who couldn’t care less that you have a rooted phone. I have a jailbroken iDevice, but I’m not stupid enough to ask Apple to fix it for me if it breaks. I have emulators on it, but I’m not audacious enough to demand that Apple host them in the App Store.

That’s why I agree with Google here. Emulators have always been a gray legal area, and Sony’s push into the Android game market was bound to stir up the PS emulation scene. It’s just amusing to watch Android apologists defending this move on the “openness” front. It’s fine with me if Google chooses not to host a possibly illegal program; just don’t try to tell me Apple is somehow horrible for doing the same thing.

“Don’t Be Evil” is now officially “Don’t Piss Off the OEMs,” and that’s a good strategy to make money and ensure the success of your platform. It’s just not open.

Bricks Helping Japan

Having mentioned Love For Japan, I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about TBB’s fantastic auction. As you might guess, the proceeds benefit Japan, and by the looks of the MOCs on eBay, there’ll be some hefty proceeds. Christophe Corthay’s stunning Phenix is the standout, for the suitably high price of $1,338. If you’ve never seen the SHIP, that price doesn’t seem out of place at all. The other models are of very high quality from some pretty well-known builders, albeit much smaller. Check it out and see if you’d like some LEGO for a good cause.

Love For Japan

I’ve already contributed to this, and I think you should too. It’s a wonderful idea – contribute a hand-drawn heart, then buy a poster that includes all the hearts submitted from around the world. The money left over from the printing goes directly to Japan relief funds, plus you get a great decoration for your efforts. It’s kind of like the PBS tote bags or coffee mugs, except you help design it and it’s much cooler. Read more about it here if you’d like.

Happy Birthday!

I’m late on this, but I’ve been both busy and tired (mostly tired) but I really should say it. Friday was a special day; it was my fantastic girlfriend’s birthday. I’m astounded every day that such a wonderful person would want to be with me. I can’t wait to see what our life will bring. Have a great year!


Why doesn’t the tech press use iPods?

As far as I can tell, no one in the tech press uses an iPod touch on a daily basis. How do I know this? iPad 2 reviews. Almost everyone has commented on the “strange dock connector” which forces some of the plug to be exposed due to the angled back. My iPod also has an angled rear case, and the plug is exposed when I dock it. I tested an iPad 2 in stores, and the cable looked and felt exactly the same to me as my 2 year old iPod. I doubt anyone who uses an iPod touch often would complain about this or even find it unusual.

Also, there have been many reports on Apple using its new pogo pin headphone jack to reduce space requirements. This was patented a while ago, but no one noticed them using the same part on my 2008 iPod touch. If you have one, peek down the headphone jack with a flashlight and you’ll see. If not, take a look at this part from Amazon:

And here’s the iPad 2 jack, from a 9 to 5 Mac article about LCIs in the iPad. It’s split open, but it sure looks like the same pin structure as you see in the very tip of the first picture.

I haven’t ever needed to replace my headphone jack so I can’t be 100% certain, but it makes sense. The whole point was to reduce the space needed for a headphone jack, and the iPod touch 2g is still one of the thinnest things Apple has ever produced. Maybe one day the jack will fail and I can replace it and know for sure, but I’d prefer that not to happen.

Edit: I’m equally as sure that this part is used on the iPod shuffle as well. There are definitely no cantilever contacts, and it sure looks like the latest patent.


Mac OS X turns 10 today, since version 10.0 shipped on 3-24-01. A lot of the mac blogs are running stories, but TUAW has put together the best compilation I’ve seen, with some excellent screenshots and videos of each product announcement along the way. I especially recommend the 10.0 intro to get a nice background on the system.  TUAW only includes part 1 of most events, but you can see part 2 of the 10.0 intro here. If you only watch one video, I’d choose that one – the joy in Steve’s voice when demoing the new Aqua GUI is classic. He could minimize those windows all day long.

Fun facts I learned from these videos (I hadn’t seen anything after 10.0 and before 10.6):

– OS X wasn’t the most popular UNIX os until 2003 – mac market share was obviously much smaller back then.

– Sherlock was still around from OS 9 until 10.4, even though Tiger included Spotlight as well.

– Steve says “boom” a lot (ok I knew that already).

If you care to see what came before, the OS 9 intro is here, although the video is incredibly fuzzy. Perhaps the best part of that video is Steve wearing a suit; looks like his turtleneck didn’t get washed that day. Another great moment in Mac OS history was the OS 9 funeral held at WWDC 2002, complete with coffin and melancholy organ. Silly me for using a dead operating system for 5 years afterwards. That resulted in my jumping all the way from OS 9 to Tiger, which was basically the most amazing thing ever. In fact, it probably sparked my desire to follow tech news ever since. If you ever want to feel like you’re living in the future, go almost 10 years without upgrading computers – a 5-flavors iMac to a tiny MacBook was an incredible leap.

Thanks OS X for a great decade, and we’ll see where you are in another 10 years.