At first I was a little skeptical about this multi touch interface demo but when they start to pan rotate and zoom maps with one two handed move I was sold. Make sure you watch the video the impressive stuff starts around half way in. And the fact that Apple has a patent on some related technology makes me all giddy that we may see some practical application of this in the not impossibly distant future.
For mac aficionados there is something more important than Christmas and that is Macworld San Francisco in January. The rumor mills are running rampant on predictions for this macworld with intel iBooks topping the list of predictions but I am wishing for some other things from Apple. What I would call the trojan macs.
The first is what I would call the Mac mini TV, this would be a modified version on the mini specially designed to fit under the large plasma and LCD HD television sets that all the people have been buying themselves for Christmas. Compared to the current mini it should have an added TV tuner card and much bigger hard disk, it should still be as silent as the mini but it would not need to be as small as the current mini. Of course it will also require a PVR capable version of Front Row. It should be mainly marketed as a PVR with a mac under the hood
The second machine I would like to see apple release, I even hesitate to call a mac, would be a hybrid of an ibook and the Nokia 770. Think of it as a ibook with the keyboard replaced by a touch screen and a added infrared port. It should be marketed primarily as a kind of ebook/web reader/itunes controler but again in reality there is a mac under the hood.
The nice thing with both these machines are that they are not primarily macs and therefore can be marketed more like appliances negating a lot of the windows arguments nor will they require all the third party software to be ported to Intel on day one. But they will both put OSX in the hands of a lot of people, expanding the OSX user base in a trojan way.
Although I have used and loved Quicksilver for quite some time it’s only these last days that I have really groked it. I got the revelation when looking at a video of a quicksilver and backpack integration. When Tiger came out there was some speculation if quicksilver would survive spotlight, someone wrote that spotlight is about nouns whereas quicksilver is about verbs. Spotlight just returns things whereas quicksilver allows you to do things with things. So even though I used the verb part of quicksilver it was always like a foreigner that didn’t quite master the grammar. Now finally I get it.
So if you are a mac user and you have not given Quicksilver a real chance. I highly recommend that you spend some time exploring it. 43folders has a good starting point. just remember that a little like photoshop, quicksilver is one of those programs you can only really feel the full value once you grok it ;-).
These guys really loved their project
"It's midnight. I've been working sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. I'm not being paid. In fact, my project was canceled six months ago, so I'm evading security, sneaking into Apple Computer's main offices in the heart of Silicon Valley, doing clandestine volunteer work for an eight-billion-dollar corporation."
John Gruber over at Daring Fireball is speculating on the speculation of an upcoming flash based iPod. He points out many of the problems with Apple coming out with a flash based iPod. But I think he misses one important points why Apple should come out with one.
Fair use I want to be able to share some stuff that I buy in the music store with friends. I bought "The Da Vinci Code" for $30, that is steep for an audio book only I can listen to, If I had been smart I would have bought it at Amazon in CD format for the same price.
Now if there was a cheap flash based iPod I could transfer it to that player and borrow the whole player to a friend. In a way re-instituting one aspect of fair use.
Of course for this to work the player needs to be cheap enough, On the other hand it does not need lots of storage. My hunch under $100, sadly I think there is little chance Apple will go down that road.
Although this Sun 3D desktop demo is quite cheesy there are two very cool things that should be looked into:
Now the interesting thing is that these features don't require 3D, sure the animation of flipping the window should be in 3D so would the turning the window to show it's spine but that does still not require the whole desktop metaphor to be a 3D environment. I have yet to see a compelling argument for that.
Apple strongly recommends going even lower than $9.99 [Recommended Album Price]. They'd like to see that price drop to make the full-album purchase even more desirable.and other notes from the Music Store Indie Event I think I am in trouble.
"...But what Apple does so well is to realize the potential in a technology, and to frame it in such a way that people discover that they need it. In a way, they are cultural innovators more than they are tech innovators... "
I very rarely need to produce paper documents. Most of my reports to clients are published straight to web where they can live a more useful and dynamic life than a paper document. Almost all my correspondence is email. That leaves just a couple of paper documents a month and for those I use indesign an application that produces beautiful document and leaves me in control.
So the only down side of not having word is that people tend to send me word files. Most of those I can safely crap and the few that come from clients I can have converted by friends or colleagues.
Tabs: I guess this is the most requested UI feature. Although I love the tabs in Chimera I think we need to find a smarter implementation. Ironically the main issue I have with tabs is that I love them so much that they fill up too quickly. So when surfing with Chimera I tend to have multiple windows open full of tabs and then finding a particular page tab put's me in a worse situation as I can not use a window menu. Instead, I have to scan the tabs of each open window. Having said that if implemented as tabs, use the favorites bar and make the bookmarks a permanent tab:
Just push the standard favorites to right as you open more tabs. Another, probably better possibility is drawers.
The brushed metal look: Here I will differ from the general Mac community in saying that the main reason apple tends to use brushed metal over standard Aqua for so many of their applications is that Aqua is not that good. It tends to be too high key. Here is an example of a web page viewed with both interfaces:
Notice how in the chimera screen shot the web page blends in with the UI. This is not a good thing and affects many Aqua applications. The Standard Aqua theme is about 5% and does generate enough contrast between the document and the user interface. Now brushed metal on the hand goes from around 40% to 20% and tends to contrast too much, the light to dark fading can also be confusing. what Apple needs here is a new theme that is somewhere in between these two. Something between 15% and 20% would be good. Irony is that OS9 averaged about 20%. With Apple wanting to clearly differentiate OSX from 9, the likelihood that Apple will listen is probably zero. One interesting side note is that the choice of brushed metal has allowed them to reduce the vertical space that the UI takes up, a good thing!
Shortcuts a la Chimera and OmniWeb is a must and simple improvement. Plus then possibility to hide the Google search box.
A wysiwyg activeX like component: This is desperately needed in OSX Browsers. Hopefully it would be part of WebCore and better than the one offered in windows. The most important thing is that it has to be real easy for web developers to implement without requiring browser sniffing. Jim Ray has other good ideas for WebCore
There is also plenty of attention to detail I like: