Living Without Flash

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John Gruber had an interesting post today about going flash-free on your Mac (and a workaround if you happen to need flash for a specific video).  I personally have never been impressed with the performance of Adobe Flash, and with recent reports stating that on the MacBook Air if you use Flash you gets two hours less on your battery, all the more reason to abandon that technology.

Inspired by Gruber’s post, I am going to go Flash-free starting today.  I’m actually curious to know how many sites I truly can’t visit without Flash.  I don’t expect the total to be high, but only one way to find out.

Shawn Blanc’s View on OmniFocus

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Shawn Blanc recently posted an excellent overview on GTD, and specifically, OmniFocus.  As a user of OmniFocus, this is a definite must read.

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App Hall of Fame

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Safari

148 apps has launched a new site – The App Hall of Fame.  Each month, a committee (comprised of editors, bloggers, developers from around the globe) will nominate and choose apps to be inducted into the hall of fame.  The twelve chosen for October 2010 contain mainstream favorites, such as Angry Birds, Plants Vs. Zombies, Instapaper, Twitter for iPhone/iPad, and others.

Given the size of the Apple app store, this site will serve as a place to find the best apps that have been released.  If you sign up for their mailing list, you can also participate in contests to get some of the Hall of Fame apps for free.  Seeing as how I have 11 out of the 12 apps listed (the exception is Homerun Battle 3D), I’d say they did a good job for their first round.

Android: We Don’t Need Another Platform

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Would be too easy to insert “Android is open” joke, but I’ll abstain.

Though on a serious note, this is a 180° turn.  By Andy Rubin’s logic, Android should have never been created because why would we need another platform?  iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, and others already existed, why would we have needed another?

I am not sure whether Windows Phone 7 will succeed.  While I do prefer iOS and find it to be superior to Android, there are certainly things from the Android OS that I wish Apple would incorporate (like the notification system).  Multiple platforms encourages companies to work harder to deliver the best product, as they know they need to retain and continue to win customers in order to stay relevant.

Android is not as open and free as they make it out to be.  In my opinion, it has become nothing more than a battle cry and PR slogan to win over customers.

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Droplr – Sharing In The Cloud

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I’ve been hearing about it for months now, but I finally sat down last week to install Droplr.  It is only for Mac/iPhone users, so sorry Windows fans!

While Droplr has an introductory video on their site, in a nutshell, its main use is “Hey, I have this picture/website/text/random file I need to share with a friend (or the world), how can I get it out there quickly?”.  You drag and drop the file onto the Droplr icon in your taskbar, and bam, it is uploaded and you are provided with a shortened link to share (and convenient twitter button, which I’ll get to later).  It also tracks how many times the link is clicked, a handy little feature.  Droplr comes with 1GB free of storage (you can receive an additional 1GB when you sign up if you agree to send a tweet advertising Droplr), which is a significant amount of space to work with. More

PlayBook and iPad Comparisons

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As most of you are aware, RIM announced yesterday their upcoming tablet, the PlayBook. First off, kudos to them for coming up with another name than the rumored (and awfully named) BlackPad. Obvious sports reference, but I think it will work well for RIM.

There are already multiples articles about the device itself, so I won’t reiterate those points. What I want to highlight is the tech media’s typical move in comparing it to the iPad. (Not surprising since we know that mentioning Apple means more views which equates to more $$). They are overlooking the fact that the PlayBook isn’t due until sometime in 2011, which makes comparing it to the current version of the iPad extremely silly. The PlayBook’s real rival is the iPad 2, which will most likely be announced in January, followed up by iOS 5.0 in the upcoming months. It isn’t unrealistic to think that a lot of the momentum of the PlayBook will be lost to iPad 2.

Overall, the PlayBook actually looks pretty decent, and the integration with your BB is an added bonus (hopefully Apple incorporates this in iOS 5.0 for their products). In addition, a lot of the technical specifications are pretty impressive. However, as us tech geeks often forget, specs do not tell the whole story. An item with less specs but better system integration will always win out in the end.

On a side note, why are competitors having such a hard time meeting the price points of the iPad? That is the only reason I can think of for companies not releasing their price structure (so much for the Apple Tax). The upcoming tablets are even a smaller form factor.

Slice It! – An Engineer’s Gaming App

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I recently came across Slice It!, a neat little app.  Maybe it is because I am an engineer and geek at heart, but I love this game.  The premise is that you are given a shape, and with a certain number of “pencils” (which equate to lines), you need to slice the shape into a certain number of equal pieces by area.

The game starts off relatively simple (given a square, cut it into two pieces with one slice), but progressively gets much more difficult.  It’s a much different pace compared to the recent side-scrolling games that have been dominating the charts lately.  You actually have to stop and think (gasp!) about what lines you will draw that will eventually allow you to reach your goal.

As for drawing the lines, the app allows two distinct ways: utilize both fingers, allowing for dynamic movement of both end points, or setting one end point firm and change the location of the other end.  This allows for fairly accurate slices, which is extremely important in the later rounds.

Luckily, there are also hints available should you get stumped.  You get one hint point for every level that you get 5 stars on (which is based on how close the pieces are equal to each other).

Overall, this is a top-notch game, and really have no complaints.  There are currently 70 levels, and the developers plan on releasing more advanced levels, increasing replay value.

You can grab it on iTunes for $0.99, and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Epic Win – The Gamer’s To-Do List

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I’ll admit up front, when it comes to productivity apps (especially to-do lists), I am notorious for going through the trouble of setting one up, syncing all my to-do lists with my calendar, etc., and then a week later let it languish and never use it again.  I’ve tried Taska, Things, Omnifocus, and a few others, but they just didn’t do it for me.  Then I came across a nifty little app called Epic Win.

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iPad Cannibalizing Laptop Sales

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The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy.  On the heels of having just announced a 61% increase in profit the last quarter, Brian mentioned something rather interesting:

Mr. Dunn also said internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%.

For a product that has been out in the market for a little over 6 months, that is incredible.  These high quantity consumer sales, in addition to their strides in enterprise acceptance, puts into perspective why Apple has doubled (and looking to triple) their production quantities.

Let’s see how Apple will continue to “mutate” the tablet market.

Think the iPad isn’t Magical?

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This video shows how magical the iPad is. These animation artists created a series of gorgeous, twinkling holograms, captured with long exposure photography as the iPad moves through the air. It unbelievable!

Of this latest feat, they explain:

First we create software models of three-dimensional typography, objects and animations. We render cross sections of these models, like a virtual CAT scan, making a series of outlines of slices of each form. We play these back on the surface of the iPad as movies, and drag the iPad through the air to extrude shapes captured in long exposure photographs. Each 3D form is itself a single frame of a 3D animation, so each long exposure still is only a single image in a composite stop frame animation.

When the individual words are writhing across the screen there’s barely a trace of the iPad that made them.

via BERGDentsu LondonGizmodo

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