John Niedermeyer is a Brooklyn-based design manager and internets enthusiast at <a href="http://buzzfeed.com">BuzzFeed</a>. Previously, he was a digital designer and editor at <a href="http://nytimes.com">The New York Times</a>.
I’m writing this from the new WordPress iPhone app. It’s a pretty light, straight-forward interface. It allows saving posts locally on the iPhone before publishing or saving drafts to the server, enabling offline drafting.
There is even rudimentary photo support – but you can’t really control the placement or sizing of the image – it is merely appended to the end of the message. You don’t even see the image markup until it is published or saved as a draft on the server.
But even then, the limitations of the iPhone become clear – there is no copy/paste, and the classes that determine how WordPress displays uploaded images is unneccessarily complicated. (They should simplify that.)
So, though this is a pretty nice app, I’m not sure how useful it will be without more formatting options and copy/paste. For instance, I can’t even provide a link to it’s app store page. Also, why doesn’t the iPhone have characters luke curly quotes and em/en dashes?
UPDATE (from my Mac): Here is the link to the app.
The transition from .Mac to MobileMe was a lot rockier than we had hoped. We will be extending subscriptions by 30 days to customers free of charge to express our appreciation for their patience during the transition period.
If you like photos, Flickr, and OS X, and don’t know about FlickrExport, then shame on you. It’s a nice little plugin that will let you easily export photos from iPhoto to Flickr. It converts your assigned iPhoto keywords to Flickr tags, enables you to add titles and descriptions, and choose to either add the photos to a new set, an existing set, or none at all – all within the dialog window.
The one rub is that it is made by an independent developer, Fraser Speirs, who has to feed his family – so, he charges about $25. A nominal price for something that has saved me hundreds of hours, and enriched my Flickr experience.
I finally managed to upgrade to Leopard (OS X 10.5), and overall it seems like a nice update. Time Machine is still doing its initial backup, but I can’t help getting a little excited by its superfluous animations… I know that I’m supposed to hate it, but who could fault Apple for making something so horribly boring, like backups, and inject a little fun?
One interesting little tidbit that I discovered, is that iPhone web apps make very nice Dashboard widgets. In about 10 seconds, I created a Web Clip in Safari of weather.com‘s iPhone app. It provides a lot more information than the standard OS X Weather widget, and it looks nice.
Keep in mind that not all iPhone apps will work well for this – PocketTweets, for instance, will only load in Mobile Safari. And, because of the higher screen resolution on the iPhone, some apps’ font sizes might be too large to be of much use in the Dashboard. But, I think that this example illustrates nicely the power and simplicity of Web Clips in Leopard.
My only real gripes thus far are the translucent menu bar, and that Camino’s bookmarks bar looks like a franken-monster. I can’t seem to find a cure for this yet, but it’s not jarring enough to make me go back to Safari.
Since I bought my iPhone on June 30, I’ve been looking for an easy, high-quality method for viewing the MTA Subway map. The phone’s built-in Photo application “optimizes” all photos and images down to a dimension and resolution that doesn’t work well for images with lots of small text and details.
In search of the optimal iPhone MTA map.
What I wanted, was the ability to view a PDF, or large PNG of the system map – and to be able to zoom in and drag it around easily. Bill at iSubwayMaps.com outlined one such solution, which involved setting up a Yahoo! mail account, since IMAP mail accounts seemed to cache attachments locally on the iPhone. This did work for me, but I found the MTA’s PDF map sluggish when zooming or dragging around. And, I had to drill back through the Mail menus to get to my Yahoo mail account, (as I’m primarily a Gmail user).
But, before I could go out and buy a old-fashioned paper pop-up map, another solution presented itself:
Filemark Maker Filemarks let you store high res images, text files, and PDFs on an iPhone! Filemarks let you store much higher quality images than the built in photo application.
Filemark Maker gets around the limitations outlined above, by writing files to a temp location on the device’s HD, by using Safari bookmarklets. Then, the files are accessible in MobileSafari. And, because the files are written to iPhone’s HD, the bookmarklets work whether you’re online or not – or whether you’re above ground or not.
Here are the MTA Subway Maps that I used to make bookmarklets using this tool:
Some details are finally starting to emerge surrounding Apple’s plans for the construction of a signature Flagship retail store in the Back Bay, Boston. IfoAppleStore reports that renderings of the proposed design have leaked (see left), and that the backward-looking Back Bay Architectural Commission has serious misgivings about the 3-story modern glass structure.
This is a shame… our wonderfully acerbic alternative newspaper, The Weekly Dig, said it better than I can:
Putting aside the mental gymnastics it takes to believe that one glass building would destroy the neighborhoody feeling of a three-lane boulevard that hosts a mall, a convention center and the city’s second-tallest tower, Apple’s run-in with the BBAC raises a more immediate question: Is a cabal of frigid elitists stifling Boston’s growth while they defend some bullshit Brahmin conception of what an ex-landfill should look like?
I sympathize with those urban planners and critics who reject the strip-mall/parking-lot 20th-century method of development – God knows, Boston is as pedestrian-friendly as any city in North America, and we’re better for it. But, there are many examples of new projects designed to mimic the look of 19th-century Boston, without succeeding in preserving any sense of neighborhood cohesion. One glaring example of this is the mammoth Hotel Commonwealth, in Kenmore Square, which I’ve commented on in the past. That building has as much “old-world charm”, as a 1970s-era French Tudor style suburban tract home.
What I find strangest of all, is that this is a relatively small parcel of land we’re talking about. Consider that on the very same block, across the street, Mandarin Oriental is building a huge hotel, in front of the Prudential Tower/Mall, at street-level.
If one of these developments is going to change the character of the neighborhood, I’d worry more about that project.
Camino is out of beta today! Talk about a great Valentine’s Day gift.
I use Camino as my primary browser, since it renders Gmail and Google Reader much faster than Safari/Saft. It doesn’t allow for all of the extensions that Firefox features, but it’s quicker, and just feels more like an OS X application.
Here are some links today:
John Hicks does a way better job singing Camino’s praises, (love the heart logo!)
Apple is poised to announce a major retail store directly across from the Prudential Center on Boylston Street in Downtown Boston. The store is said to be Apple’s most state-of-the-art store to date with 4 stories and a front made entirely of a glass. Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino is expected to announce plans for the store in the coming week.
They couldn’t have picked a better spot.
photo is of the new San Francisco store, uploaded to Flickr by iPhil
Damn… I’ve got a bunch of photos of somebody’s birthday celebration, but no way of exporting them easily to Flickr. I upgraded to iPhoto 6, before I realized that Frasier Spiers hasn’t yet made his indispensible Flickr Export plugin compatible with the new version. Oops.
So, I just made a small donation to Frasier… You should too, if you rely on this plugin as much as I do.
First, the ROKR is available from Cingular now. It’s got iTunes (100 songs), Bluetooth, and a VGA camera (sucky) — for $249.00.
But, I’m more intrigued with the iPod nano… Sure, it only comes with a max of 4GB storage, but the small size, color screen, and “wow” factor is going to make it a big hit. And, the price is right at just $249 for the 4GB, (the same as the now dead, iPod mini).
Start saving your money… even the initial accessories look neat, (if not a bit girly).
When I’m designing and building a website, I dread the point where I’ll have to shift from working locally, to working on the server. Once the initial layout and CSS is done, it’s time to start scripting with PHP, and pulling content in from MySQL databases — and time to fire up ye olde FTP. This constant uploading is frustrating, and gives me carpal tunnel…
I’ve always known that it was possible to set up PHP & MySQL locally, as Mac OSX has the Apache web server built-in… but, that always seemed like such a hassle. After a few minutes of tinkering, I’d throw my hands up and think, wouldn’t it be helpful if someone put together an easy install package?
Well, somebody has… MAMP promises to be my salvation:
MAMP installs a local server environment in a matter of seconds on your Mac OS X computer, be it PowerBook or iMac. Like similar packages from the Windows- and Linux-world, MAMP comes free of charge.
This should speed things up considerably, and allow me to work without an internet connection… on the plane, in the park, etc.
Hurrah! Continuing the saga, I was searching through the Déjà Vu help, I stumbled upon this little nugget of information:
IMPORTANT: If you are backing up to a Windows server, you must use the ‘Connect’ button in the ‘Auto-Connect’ tab to mount the volume before you select the source and destination folders (in the ‘What’ and ‘Where’ columns). If you select the source and destination folders when the volume has been mounted by the Finder, Déj? Vu will not be able to find the destination when it auto-connects to the volume at backup time.
No kidding. I did as asked, and 30 seconds later, I’m backing up to the WinXP box in the closet. Effortless…
Thanks to everyone who suggested alternate solutions — this is really the best and simplest for my needs. Yea, it’ll take forever over the Wireless “G” network, but I’ve got it scheduled for 3am, once a week. Should be okay.
My scheduled backup didn’t go so well, the other night. Apparently, Déjà Vu copied the folder structure, but couldn’t copy the files.
Obviously there is some kind of permissions issue here, but I’m wondering if this is due to the fact that I’m copying to a Windows PC… The app connects to the remote drive just fine, and I can manually copy files to it — I just can’t seem to get this to work, though.
I’ll have to do a little more research (leave a comment if you have an idea!)… or else, on to rsync.
Having read a few recent posts from Andy Budd and Jason Kottke, I’ve grown suddenly worried about the prospect of losing my Powerbook’s data. For the past couple of years, I’ve manually backed up critical files to CD, but I was lucky if this got done once per year…
After briefly flirting with DVD archiving (thanks for your help Jason), it was clear that this would be only slightly less annoying than CDs. And, web servers offer even less disk space…
No, I decided that it was time to set up scheduled backups, to hard disk.
First, I started with an old Dell Desktop, which we set up in our litter-box closet. We bought a USB Wi-Fi “G” adapter to connect the PC (and our printer) to the network. I should also mention that I added an 80GB internal drive…
With the hardware in place, I decided to use Déjà Vu to run the backups — this app does everything a backup app should do, but I like the way it is integrated in System Preferences, as a preference pane. It’s lean, clean, and fits well into the OS.
After an hour or so of Setup, I’ve got scheduled weekly backups of my user directory, starting tonight at 3am…
I’ve been looking for a good menu controller for iTunes, and it’s been a difficult search. I tested many apps, including QuickTunes, You Control Tunes, and Synergy. Each has its relative strengths and weaknesses, but I just couldn’t get everything I wanted in one package:
Display track info on the menubar
Unobtrusive design, that blends with my OS X theme
Global keyboard shortcuts
Pop-up floater with track info and album art
Solid app, that doesn’t crash
In the end, I decided to go with The Little App Factory’s M-Beat, which satisfies all of these requirements, and includes support for skinning themes.
This bit of customization was the clincher, because I wasn’t satisfied with the way the default “look” integrated in my menu. So, I created a theme to match my Milk OS X theme: