06 Feb

Tinycon – Favicon Alerts

Tinycon allows the addition of alert bubbles and changing the favicon image. Tinycon gracefully falls back to a number in title approach for browers that don’t support canvas or dynamic favicons.

Alerts in the favicon allow users to pin a tab and easily see if their attention is needed.

via GitHub – Tinycon. Pretty sure I could count the times I actually looked at a favicon alert on one hand, that being said nice work.

05 Feb

Living World – How Did LEGO Become More About Limits Than Possibilities?

Rip open that new LEGO set and your mind races at the possibilities! A simple repertoire of piece types, and yet you can build a ninja boat, a three-wheeled race car, a pineapple pizza, a spotted lion… The possibilities are limited only by your creativity and imagination. “Combine and create!”—that was the implicit war cry for LEGOs.

So how, I wonder, did LEGO so severely lose its way? LEGO now fills the niche that model airplanes once did when I was a kid, an activity whose motto would be better described as “Follow the instructions!” The sets kids receive as gifts today are replete with made-to-order piece types special to each set, useful in one particular spot, and often useless elsewhere. And the sets are designed for constructing some particular thing (a Geonosian Starfighter, a Triceratops Trapper, etc.), and you—the parent—can look forward to spending hours helping them through the thorough yet thoroughly exhausting pages.

via Living World – How Did LEGO Become More About Limits Than Possibilities?. It’s a little depressing when I pick up a Lego kit and have to turn it down because of this issue. It used to be that no matter what the theme of the set, I could always use the vast majority of pieces from the kit, not so much anymore.

24 Jan

inessential.com – Fantastical and language detection

I like this. The best Mac developers have been famous for taking the extra steps. Most people won’t need this — but those who do it will delight.

via inessential.com – Fantastical and language detection. That is practically the definition of great software, causing your users delight in the everyday workings.

01 Jan

Subtraction.com – Subscribing to The New York Times

The total customer experience here is haphazard at best, and, at worst — I hate to say this because I am still friendly with many people at the company, but in truth there’s no way around it — it’s insulting. It shows a certain amount of disrespect to customers for a company to choose not to present a full accounting of available offers, displayed plainly and in an easy-to-compare chart, so that anyone can fully understand all of the options and decide quickly.

Why would it be so hard to be as explicit that? I ask that rhetorically, but from my experience as an employee I remember exactly why: The Times as a business remains both in thrall of and a prisoner of its old print mathematics, wherein pricing for delivery of the physical newspaper was complicated and subject to frequent and fleeting special promotions. By design, print subscribers were never sure if they were getting the best deal on their subscriptions, and that mentality has transferred over to its digital business. The result is sadly hostile to those looking to subscribe digitally, and gives the unmistakable impression that the company is gaming its customers.

Just for comparison, here’s how some other digital businesses price their products: Netflix is US$8 a month. Spotify is between US$5 and US$10 per month. Evernote is US$5 per month or US$45 per year. Birchbox is US$10 per month. Hulu Plus is US$8 per month. Flickr is US$25 per year. MLB.tv is US$25 per year. And so on. There is really no good reason that pricing for The New York Times couldn’t be as simple as that.

via Subtraction.com – Subscribing to The New York Times. Media companies respect their customers or maybe not.

23 Oct

Marco.org – What’s Next for Apple

It’s painful for me to see the sad state of consumer electronics. People are so shamelessly ripped off by low-rent retailers to get such low-quality products.

One of the reasons people get so emotionally attached to Apple is that the entire experience, from walking into the store and buying something to using it at home, is so starkly different that there’s a strong feeling that Apple is saving us from the Best Buys of the world.

via Marco.org – What’s Next for Apple. Too true.

20 Sep

Daring Fireball – The Case for Going Metro-Only on ARM

Read the whole thing. His take is reasonable. If Windows 8 does ship with support for classic non-Metro apps on ARM machines, these will be the reasons why.

But there are other good reasons, I think, for why Microsoft should cut the cord cleanly and go Metro-only on ARM.

via Daring Fireball – The Case for Going Metro-Only on ARM. When I posted the link about Windows 8 being able to run normal desktop apps, I somewhat flippantly said that it “could keep Win­dows 8 from being truly awesome”, this is why.

14 Sep

Write for Your Life – Why the Amazon Kindle might be the new iPod

In the future, owning a Kindle might mean a number of things. When you tell people you own a Kindle, you’ll have to say which one. The e-reader or the tablet. Maybe something entirely different, eventually.

Just like the iPod evolved and had its variations to fit different customers and lifestyles, from the iPod Shuffle to the iPod Touch, I can see Amazon building a similar type of product line. There will be no one Kindle, just like there is no one iPod.

Customers who want to read will choose an e-ink device, an improved Kindle 3, or whatever they decide to call it. Those who want to do more, or access all the other content that Amazon offers, they will go with the tablet.

via Write for Your Life – Why the Amazon Kindle might be the new iPod. That’s a key point and possibly the only reason why I might instead stick with buying the current Kindle as opposed to the new tablet Amazon is most likely going to introduce. I want something better than the Kindle, but I primarily just want to read books when you get down to it.

05 Sep

Lea Verou – Pure CSS3 typing animation with steps()

steps() is a relatively new addition to the CSS3 animations module. Instead of interpolating the values smoothly, it allows us to define the number of “frames” precisely. So I used it to create headers that have the well-known animated “typing effect”:

via Lea Verou – Pure CSS3 typing animation with steps(). Pretty nifty trick.