Archive for May 21, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gifting Mac App Store Apps

Christopher Breen:

Unlike with the App Store on your iOS device or in iTunes you won’t find a Gift This App link on the Mac App Store.

I haven’t heard any good reasons for this; Apple just doesn’t think it’s very important.

Creating the Windows 8 User Experience

Jensen Harris (via Brooke Crothers):

Even with multitasking in the existing desktop still present (and improved), we did feel like only offering “one-at-a-time” in the Metro style experience was a bit of a constraint, and not totally true to the Windows history of multitasking. So we evolved Snap for Windows 8.This feature lets you run any two WinRT-based apps side-by-side, so that you can watch a video while you browse the web, or video chat while checking mail. And we created facilities for background processing of a wide class of apps, and background notification capabilities that are unique to Windows as well.

I like how open Microsoft is about their thought processes. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can pull off this “no compromises” thing.

Coda 2 and Diet Coda

Cabel Sasser:

Coda 2 represents a incredible overhaul of every facet of our venerable all-in-one web code editor. It’s a release packed with tons of improvements that will make you more efficient and faster at your job. And on top of that, it’s got brand new features that will make it an even more indispensable part of your process.

Looks very impressive. They also have an interesting pricing structure: $10 for the iPad app and $100 for the Mac app. The Mac app is discounted to $49 the first day, then $75 for an unspecified upgrade-pricing-for-everyone window. If you purchased Coda 1 (not from the Mac App Store) after April 10, you get a free update (at your leisure). It’s hinted that the price of the iPad app will go up, and it doesn’t scale down to work on iPhones. This is all pre-announced three days before anything goes on sale. I’m not sure whether this is a marketing tactic or a new attempt at Wil Shipley’s Gordian Knot of how (post–Mac App Store) to offer existing customers upgrading pricing without losing too many full-price sales to new customers.

Update (2012-05-24): Panic:

At the moment, there is only one difference between the two versions: the Mac App Store version will support iCloud syncing of Sites and Clips, and the direct version will not. This is a restriction imposed by Apple.

Apple often changes the conditions for Mac App Store eligibility, and it's possible we may have to modify or remove features from the Mac App Store version in the future. It's our intent to keep them as close to identical as Apple will let us.

Federico Viticci:

Take the custom text selection method Panic built. It’s not entirely custom — it’s still fundamentally based on “drag handles” and a “zoomed-in view” of the cursor — but Panic reworked it to allow for faster selection by swiping on the left (where numbered lines are) and to visualize a larger, rounded “zoom selector” (they call it the Super Loupe) when you’re moving the cursor between characters. It feels much better than standard iOS text selection — faster, and somewhat more accurate — albeit it really needs to be experienced “in motion”, rather than through the screenshot I have embedded below.

Transatlantic Ping Faster Than Sending a Pixel to the Screen

John Carmack (via John Siracusa):

To measure display latency, I have a small program that sits in a spin loop polling a game controller, doing a clear to a different color and swapping buffers whenever a button is pressed. I video record showing both the game controller and the screen with a 240 fps camera, then count the number of frames between the button being pressed and the screen starting to show a change.

I think the lesson here is that intuition about performance bottlenecks is often wrong.

Mac OS X 10.7.4


There was absolutely no compelling reason for me to update, but I did it anyway. Since then I am plagued with video problems, like can be seen on the small picture to the right.

The seems to be the rare maintenance update that introduces problems. The -[NSWorkspace iconForFileType:] method now returns generic document icons for me in certain circumstances. Another NSWorkspace bug leaks memory. Daniel Jalkut is seeing a new UI glitch. I’m seeing PDFView drawing glitches, which for Gus Mueller are accompanied by crashes. The video-related kernel panics that I started seeing with 10.7.3 are still occurring. I’ve also heard of problems with security-scoped bookmarks—introduced in 10.7.3 and essential for sandboxing—no longer working properly. It’s unfortunate that, as we near Mountain Lion’s release, Lion itself is not yet solid for everyone.

iPhone Charger Reardown

Ken Shirriff (via Collin Allen):

Disassembling Apple’s diminutive inch-cube iPhone charger reveals a technologically advanced flyback switching power supply that goes beyond the typical charger. It simply takes AC input (anything between 100 and 240 volts) and produce 5 watts of smooth 5 volt power, but the circuit to do this is surprisingly complex and innovative.