The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by Gus Mueller
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October 31, 2014

Creative Applications▸ Modulares Interface B.A. – Physical controller interface for iPad:

"Created by Florian Born, Modulares Interface B.A. is a physical interface for iPad comprised of knobs, buttons and sliders to provide precision and haptic feedback when operating a digital interface.

"These controllers expand the usage of a touch device with a haptic feedback while adjusting parameters. By using magnets, the different controllers can easily be arranged onto the iPad."

What a great idea. Make sure to watch the video to see how it all fits together.

October 30, 2014

TechCrunch: Apple No Longer Rejecting Calculator Widgets From The App Store.

"The maker of a popular iOS app and widget, PCalc, which took advantage of iOS 8’s support for Notification Center Widgets, was recently told by Apple that his handy app would be pulled from the App Store due to the fact that “widgets on iOS cannot perform any calculations.” The app’s creator, James Thomson, took to Twitter to inform users and respond to inquiries about the matter, saying it was “extremely disappointing news,” and that he was “just really really sad.”

"But now we’re hearing that Apple is changing its course. "

James was told by Apple that his wonderful app, PCalc, would have to handicap or remove it's notification center widget. This is the same Apple that is currently featuring PCalc in the App Store for the very same widget. Apparently, there was an unwritten rule which says an app can't perform calculations as an iOS widget.

That "rule" is of course insane, and it's moves like this by Apple which tend to scare the crap out of indie devs.

I don't have inside information, but I'm willing to bet that someone with veto power in Apple got a little upset or jealous about PCalc's widget, and said "kill it". James is lucky that he has lots of friends and folks who love PCalc, and also have a soapbox to stand on. So with the outcry and bad publicity, Apple changed it's mind.

Of course, "Apple" isn't a single person and it's good to remember this. Rejections and about-faces like this are just the friendly reminder that "Apple" is actually a facade for warring factions and sometimes these wars spill outside 1 Infinite Loop.

October 29, 2014

The current OS statistics for direct Acorn 4 folks:

10.10: 48.00%
10.9: 43.14%
10.8: 8.86%

No bad, and slightly better than what I figured it would be at this point.

October 27, 2014

Khoi Vinh: Thoughts on Yosemite’s Look and Feel

"In the meantime, though, I find Yosemite lacking in polish, full of awkward decisions and unresolved tensions.

Yosemite’s icons are also surprisingly haphazard; Apple has established new paradigms for some icons, but aesthetically, there seem to be few stylistic threads connecting the rendering of these icons together. Take a look at those populating Yosemite’s Systems Preferences, where some of the renderings are reductive and others are highly detailed, and the only apparent commonality is randomness. If anything, a revised look and feel for the operating system was an opportunity to rethink the presentation of its preferences as a unified visual system, but this falls far short of that."

I'm glad Khoi called out the System Preferences icons, because they drive me insane in 10.10. Random indeed.

There are some great things about Yosemite, but there are so many little things that confuse me. Why is transparency / vibrancy only for the key window? Why are my toolbar icons in Safari centered, so I never know exactly where go for a click? And why in the world does the color of Safari's window change when I switch tabs?

I understand and can see the logic in these decisions- but I think they were the wrong choice. I think it's change for change's sake, and that's not a good path to go down.

I will say that I really like the UI when "Increase contrast" is enabled in Accessibility, as it gives the whole OS a nicer look and it makes apps feel like they belong together. And I've also been playing with Acorn's tool icons, giving them more contrast as well (private builds- I'm just toying with them for a bit of fun).

I think the whole OS should head down this road- more contrast, more changes where usability trumps style, less mish mash and confusion.

October 27, 2014

Bare Bones has updated their super awesome text editor, BBEdit, all the way to 11. I use BBEdit every day for all kinds of text editing tasks, and I've been using it for almost 20 years now (I believe I first started using it to edit HTML files with version 3.5).

It's an amazing and deep app, one of my favorites of all time. And I suspect it'll keep on keeping on, staying relevant, until the heat death of the universe.

It doesn't suck.

October 15, 2014

It’s nice to see that Acorn isn’t the only app with this bug. Notice the baseline of the text (and box) in Keynote as it is resized from the top. It shakes, which is caused by the canvas not being viewed at 100% scale, which in turn causes rounding problems somewhere along the chain.

Acorn has had versions of this problem for years, and it always drives me a little crazy when I see it. But this is Apple's Keynote, so I get to laugh this time.

October 14, 2014

Helftone: The Subtle Exodus

The relationship between consumers and developers is symbiotic, one cannot exist without the other. If the Mac App Store is a hostile environment for developers, we are going to end up in a situation where, either software will not be supported anymore or even worse, won't be made at all. And the result is the same the other way around – if there are no consumers, businesses would go bankrupt and no software will be made. The Mac App Store can be work in ways that's beneficial to both developers and consumers alike, it doesn't have to be one or the other.

October 7, 2014

Brent on Bugs:

"In the old days, programmers spent hours and days and weeks working very hard, and sometimes brilliantly, on difficult things that no one had ever done before."

It's a short post and I could quote it all, but you should go read it because truth.

October 6, 2014

Paul Kim writes about indie Mac development in The Long and Winding Road:

"I’ve been doing Hazel for over seven years and I think it’s fairly safe to say that I’ve been successful doing it. I’m making more money than I did employed at other companies and I’m much happier with my job."

And

"One thing that I did learn is to have a healthy respect for randomness. Luck plays a huge role and you can’t always attribute one’s success or failure solely on their decisions and actions. … The point is that a good deal of your app’s success depends on luck. That doesn’t mean you sit back and just let fate decide; you still need to work to improve your chances. Just realize that there’s a big chunk you can’t control and that on some level, you need to be ok with that."

The longer I'm indie, the more I realize this is true

October 3, 2014

Stuart Ng Books: The Art of Robert E. McGinnis - S&N Deluxe Limited Edition

Robert McGinnis is one of the greatest paperback cover artists of all time. McGinnis has painted over 1200 paperback covers and over 40 movie posters, including Breakfast at Tiffanys and several James Bond films. In 1993, he was voted into the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame.

The two previous books on McGinnis (publishing in 2000 and 2001) are both long out of print and command premium prices. So a new monograph on the artist is long overdue. With 176 pages and a large 9x12 format, this promises to be the biggest and best of the three volumes.

Limited to 1000 copies, minus the one I just ordered.