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September 12, 2013
The iPhones of Fall
These days, Apple is more properly thought of as a fashion label, not an electronics company.
May 14, 2013
The Walled Kindergarten
The inevitability of corporate content controls on MOOCs
Last week, the Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) president Robert Meister sent an open letter entitled "Can Venture Capital Deliver on the Promise of the Public University?" to MOOC provider Coursera's CEO, Daphne Koller. The CUCFA has published the letter, which is sly, scathing, and deeply entertaining ...
March 4, 2013
A dumb question about Mail.app in Mountain Lion
I finally upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion. There are a few new things to get used to, not the least of which is the horror of having desktop notifications (even if they can be turned off). But I'm more confused by a very specific behavior in Mail.app surrounding message ...
August 7, 2012
On Big Cats
A dumb, frustrating prediction about OS X and technology reporting
I made this stupid joke on Twitter today: The primary innovation in OSX 10.9 will be the move to canine product names. I was referring to Apple's longstanding tradition of code-naming their OS X releases after "big cats": Cheetah (the original OS X), Tiger, Lion, Leopard, etc.. The thing is, ...
August 27, 2011
Cold, Grey Dirigibles
Brief thoughts on Steve Jobs's Resignation
Steve Jobs is a fascist. That's what everyone loves about him: he tells us what he wants, and he convinces us we are going to like it. And we do, not because he's right (despite popular opinion), but because it's so rare to get such definitive, brazen, top-down, abusive treatment ...
February 5, 2011
The End of Conceptual Art
Lessons from iCapitalism
Whether via the lamentable trend of gamification or through the very public release of Jane McGonigal's new book, the topic of videogames' impact on the real world has been front-and-center of late. Enter iCapitalism, an iOS game that critiques both capitalism and iOS games through a simple design. As in ...
January 12, 2011
What is an App?
A shortened, slang application.
I've been thinking about this question a lot over the past year. It may sound silly given the ubiquity of the word, but despite all the "apps" on our phones and webpages and other devices, I'm not sure we have a good sense of what it means, or what that ...
June 27, 2010
How multitasking really works on iOS 4
Despite the fact that I develop for iPhone, I can't tolerate using beta versions of the OS on my personal device. So it was only last week that I I installed iOS 4 on my iPhone last week. Ever since, I've been trying to grasp how the widely-anticipated multitasking feature ...
June 8, 2010
The Spring Handhelds
Apple and the Rhetoric of Change
Now that yet another Steve Jobs keynote is over, I find myself more interested in what Apple was saying about itself than what others are saying about its new gadgets. Despite my apparent pique pommaire, I like Apple stuff. I do my computing on a Mac and I have an ...
May 6, 2010
Flash is not a Right
What Gripes about Apple tell us about Computational Literacy
I've been watching reactions to Apple's controversial decision to prohibit the publication of iPhone applications created in environments other than Apple's own. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C ...
February 19, 2010
Pascal Spoken Here
Learning about Learning Programming from the Apple ][
Among the many, many things we talk about when we discuss curriculum for the Computational Media degree is how to make learning programming facile and appealing all throughout a student's career. Many sub-problems arise, for example, how can one help students learn new languages and environments after they've become familiar ...
January 30, 2010
The Sanitary Handheld
Public Rhetoric and the iPad
I swore I wasn't going to write anything about Apple's newly announced iPad, but I suppose it's unavoidable. Instead of its benefits or flaws, however, what's interested me the most about the gadget is the public reaction to its name. It seems that back in 2007, MadTV wrote a spoof ...
October 3, 2009
Material Permanence
Or, atoms are more memorable than bits
I read this article about alternatives to paper business cards yesterday. It mostly covers electronic alternatives to business cards, from social networking sites like LinkedIn to iPhone apps like Bump. It made me think of when I first met Jouni Mannonen, a Finnish game entrepreneur. We met at the 2003 ...
October 1, 2009
Presentation Software Sucks
Here are some features that would make it better.
I do a lot of presentations. They come in various forms: class lectures, conference papers, keynote talks, corporate presentations, and business pitches, to name a few. Often I use slides and visuals in these talks, and I do so in various ways. In my class lectures I try to use ...
June 22, 2009
Can't Continue Error
Apple Rejects Commodore 64 iPhone App
iPhone developer Manomio has created a slick, feature-packed Commodore 64 emulator for iPhone. The emulator and the five games it ships with are legally licensed. After a year of development, they submitted the program to Apple, who rejected it, citing the following SDK agreement clause: We've reviewed C64 1.0 and ...
May 6, 2009
Pink, Puzzles, and Piano bars
Apple's Idea of Mother's Day
Thanks to a direct email advertisement, I had the opportunity this week to behold Apple's idea of what mothers like. You can see it below: Just in case you can't see it clearly, Apple manages to pull out every mom stereotype they could connect to their products. Moms like pink, ...
May 4, 2009
Top Ten Reasons I Returned My Kindle
This week has witnessed much talk about Amazon's possible release of a new, larger Kindle eReader designed for newspapers and textbooks, culminating in an article in the New York Times that claims confirmation of such an impending announcement. That's on top of talk from magazine publisher Hearst's announcement that it ...
April 9, 2009
Atari VCS Programming in Xcode, Revisited
I've finally updated my Xcode Tools for Atari VCS Development, such that syntax coloring works in Xcode 3.1. Apple keeps changing the specifications for it, so every version I have to figure out how it works again and retool. This is just a pointer post for those of you who ...
January 6, 2009
The Wheel. Reinvented.
The Onion Kebabs Apple
Satirical news source The Onion is funny every day (something that can't even be said for The Daily Show or The Colbert Report), but sometimes they manage to elevate deadpan to the sublime. Today's piece on the fictional announcement of the Apple Wheel is such a one. Apple Introduces Revolutionary ...
November 16, 2008
Carrying On Over Carry-Ons
A Review of the Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer
For years now, it has been necessary to remove laptops from carry-on bags for inspection at airport security here in the States. The TSA imposes this requirement to insure a clear view of the internal components of some electronics. Scanning a laptop separately allows security personnel to insure that a ...