A blast from the past, a sign of changing times

A blast from the past, a sign of changing times

Posted by: on Mar 25, 2013 | No Comments

I discovered an interview I did for Wiley around 1996 when I had built my Channel Maker app for Windows, for creating offline web subscription channels using the CDF format on Windows. I don’t remember any of this, and its interesting to see how something so potentially useful like CDF/Pointcast channels just died as bandwidth improved.

Thanks to the Wayback machine we can see the full 1990s horror of my old website and the app, and lack of understanding that bullet lists should stop at or before 5 items.

Doing stuff for free, and who keeps communities alive?

Posted by: on Mar 13, 2013 | No Comments

If you’ve never listened to Mule Radio’s “Let’s Make Mistakes” podcast, you probably should. Mike Monteiro and Leah Reich are smart and entertaining, and occasionally deliberately offensive (which I like). Most of my readers are likely to be programmers, and at first it might seem there is not much overlap. If you are a freelance developer or somebody who cares about running businesses that don’t suck, or have an interest in design you probably will get a lot from it. I do, and it also makes me laugh as much as it makes me think – which is quite a lot.

Code generators all the way down: Why the Web sucks for Apps

Code generators all the way down: Why the Web sucks for Apps

Posted by: on Apr 16, 2012 | 8 Comments

You may have read my previous posts (here, here and here) on why, at a very fundamental level, I think the open web is a terrible way to make applications.

Retina display: more than meets the eye

Posted by: on Mar 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

With the new iPad announcement, there’s been an unsurprising amount of naysaying about the “uninspiring” new features and that Apple are going to cede the market now bla bla bla.

There’s only one way to say this: what a load of bollocks.

If you don’t agree with the statement “the retina display on the new iPad is a game changer” you need to consider this:

  1. When you cannot see the individual pixels, on a screen of this size, it will no longer seem like you are looking at a screen. This has a massive effect on the way the user feels and perceives the product and the software that runs on it. If you don’t believe this, throw away your laser printer and get a 100 dpi dot matrix from the 1980s. While you don’t normally think about it your brain and perception is aware of the tiny black grid separating the pixels and the “unnatural” jagged edges on things.
  2. Once the public see this screen, all other tablet screens (and in turn laptop screens) will be judged by this standard. Where can competitors go to compete with this? Brighter? More saturation? More battery life? All of those are possible, but they are not differentiators – and nobody can compete with iPad battery life. And they have to be retina as well. Effectively this new screen will be THE screen. THE future of displays. There is no point increasing resolution any further, and resolution of a device no longer becomes important at retina ppi – all that matters is the physical size of the screen. And if you’re thinking about 7″ tablets, in this new market all that means is less space to display stuff.
  3. This screen is by all accounts very challenging to manufacture and very expensive. Only Apple can achieve this right now, perhaps for a couple of years – they’re using their buying power and cash reserves to achieve the “impossible”. This probably puts all other tablet makers in the shitter with inferior screen resolution for the next couple of years.
  4. Still to this day nobody can compete with iPad on price for the same features and quality. Now the gap between Apple and those tablets has got a lot bigger. It may make it impossible for others to catch them now.
Still don’t get it? Then you likely never will.
UPDATE: Read this great post by Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) on this including quotes from e.g. the creator of ClearType on the significance of the new iPad screen not that it is in the wild.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Apple report they have sold over 3 million of the new iPads in the first ~3 days.