iOS

Stop the Skeuomorphic Madness!

Apple has gone off the deep end with its skeuomorphic designs. Worse yet, the debate has become polarized. The polar opposite of excessive skeuomorphism is the so-called “flat design,” seen in Windows 8. A “flat” design is not only devoid of anything that mimics a physical object or material, but it also is devoid of texture, depth, and even color. If we go flat, we’re basically back to the 128K Mac of 1984.

According to the rumor mill, this year’s Apple OSs will dial down the excessive skeuomorphism, On last week’s Talk Show, I heard the delightful term “deforestallization” to refer to this effort. Since Scott Forstall has become Apple’s gardener, he’s been blamed for this particular excess. Let’s hope that this reform doesn’t result in jumping back to the other pole.

There is a middle ground. That’s true because Apple’s brand of skeuomorphism has gotten so extreme. Skeuomorphism in moderate doses is a good thing. And Apple has already used skeuomorphic designs well.

Instacast introduces a Desktop version of Instacast 3

Instacast has made the 3rd party podcatcher landscape more interesting because it is now the only entrant who also has a desktop client. This week they released the first beta of their desktop podcatcher. Of course, it syncs with their own cloud service.

It’s big news because it helps podcast fans bypass Apple’s seriously flawed competitors: iTunes and Podcasts.

Android is Winning!!!...or is it?

It isn’t the biggest shock of the young century that the “internet search giant” is about to report a less than stellar quarter. Today Operation Linkbait asked Why Google Could be in Serious Trouble.

Maybe the headline is only stock linkbait, but over the long term, Google really is facing a rocky road.

If you’ve been following along, you can guess how the story goes...

Web Browser Market Share: Sometimes it doesn't pay to Win

Gruber put up a curious little post yesterday, Web browser market share numbers. The link is to one of many reports that show that Mobile Safari is where the mobile action is, but Gruber’s comment was that it’s “...still the biggest mystery” why web market share doesn’t reflect Android’s dominant market share lead. Perhaps he’s just being ironic. He’s got a wry sense of humor and maybe I’m just not getting the joke. One thing is certain: This isn’t a mystery at all!! It’s just that the story takes years to play itself out. It may look like a mystery to the ADD type, but not for someone who has been following the action like Gruber has.

Sometimes a one-sentence DF comment like this isn’t enough to make the point. Too much of the story is omitted. I think it is worth it to watch the slow-motion replay.

Post-trial Apple vs. Samsung Journalism

I read a new post from Marco this weekend about post-trial journalism and I was appalled. Ihnatko, of all people, wrote one of those idiotic posts that Roughly Drafted took on in a more general essay but didn’t cite specifically.

The Sun-Times column is embarrassing. Everyone knows that Andy can do a lot better than this. He has a good record; I can vouch for him. I’ve been reading him since before the iPhone even came out. When the iPad was introduced, he was one of the three journalists in the world who got a loaner for the week prior to its introduction. I was lucky enough to watch a live podcast that he did the moment the news blackout ended and the day prior to its first going on sale.

That’s one reason why this column is so appalling. Frankly, I think that he can get off with a suspended sentence if he pleads Temporary Insanity and gets Gruber as his probation officer.

Perhaps it was just the heat; this summer has been brutal and we’re going into the hottest month of the year. I’m confident that Gruber can get us through the summer without another outburst like this.

That’s my defense.

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Skating to where the puck is going to be...

I’m past merely being tired of hearing that comparison. By now, it’s become a cliche. It wasn’t right when it was first quoted, but by now it has gotten ridiculous.

This time, it was prompted by the news that Microsoft had hired a pollster at a high level to help them figure out what customers think of “Metro.” It’s a bit late in the game for this, but better late than never. I’m sure they’ll find out in due time...

Gruber used this story to bring this up again:

The message I take away from this hiring is that Steve Ballmer doesn’t know what to do, and he’s hoping polling will give him the answers. That’s how you wind up skating to where the puck was, not where it’s going to be.

Yes, I know that Steve used it to describe what Apple does, but that doesn’t make it right. He was just being modest. He’s allowed to be humble after all the work he did.

I suppose he left it as an exercise for others to figure it out.

Apple's Podcast App Reviewed

I was wrong about Apple. When they replaced the iPod app with “Music” (in iOS 5) I thought they were finished promoting podcasts and had decided to focus on promoting the stuff that they sell — music and videos. Fortunately, that turned out to be false. “Music” was just the first (welcome) step in breaking up the iTunes monopoly into smaller more manageable components. Music and movies turned out to be only the first two such components. We also have iTunesU, iBooks, and now Podcasts, Apple’s dedicated podcatcher and podcast player.

Comparative Review of Instacast HD and Downcast

When I installed iOS 5 on my iPad, I was shocked to see that the iPod app was missing! Ugh! When I finally understood what they did, my first reaction was that Apple is now pimping their music store for iPod/iPhone/iPad and their video store for Apple TV. In the process, they chose to throw the podcast world under the bus. It’s their right but, since my preferences are quite different, I knew that I needed to enter the 3rd party podcast player market right away.

I looked at the market and chose Downcast, which remains my pick. Downcast is great but not perfect. On my original iPad, its slow to update and switch to the selected podcast. Also, if you request the chapter markers (e.g., MacCast), it displays them in a pop-up window, but it is sent to the back if you touch a control or anything in the main UI. And it displays the cumulative times of the start of each segment rather than their lengths. So, there is a bit of room for improvement. That’s where I’m coming from.

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