Slideshow v1.1

July 03, 2007

Since PHP 5's release (and web host adoption), I've received a steady stream of e-mail complaining that my Slideshow script no longer works, though I suspect it actually broke before PHP 5, but after v4.4.4. In any event, I finally took a look at the source tonight and figured out the problem(s).

An updated version is now available on the project page. Please let me know if you run into any trouble.

iPhone v2.0 and my near-future plans

July 02, 2007

I'll likely get rid of my iPhone sometime in the next few months; just like every mobile phone and PDA (remember those!?!) I've ever owned, I'm guessing I'll tire of it rather quickly and soon be on the hunt for the next best thing1 (if you've any doubt about my, uhh, addiction, take a look at a piece I penned almost three years ago on how to manage mobile phone purchases). However, the difference this time around, and for the foreseeable future, is that there will be no hunt — the next best thing is going to be the next iteration of the iPhone. Can any of us go back to a pre-iPhone phone after playing with this thing for a few days? Everything else is kind of laughable at this point and I think it's going to be at least a couple of years before the iPhone begins to see any legitimate competition.

The best part about Apple making mobile phones is that I no longer have to scour the earth looking for the "new hotness" and then hoping that it's unlocked, uses GSM, and costs less than $1000. The worst part about Apple making mobile phones is that I'll now be the rule instead of the exception (and I think part of me kind of enjoyed being the exception).

I'm no longer going to be told, as I once was by some law school friends, that I should just "fly to Singapore and wait at the end of an assembly line." Now I'm just going to be in the Apple line with everyone else.

  1. A notable exception is the wonderful BlackBerry Pearl, which I would have held onto until at least v2.0 were it not for the iPhone.   

OS X, the cat

July 01, 2007

I've convinced my girlfriend to name her new kitten "OS X." Sure, she insists on calling it "oslo" (OS X is pronounced o·s·ten, which, when written out in numerical form, kind of looks like "oslo"), but it's still a small victory as far as I'm concerned.

My favorite quip from one of the e-mail "debates" we had regarding the name: "Still, I don't want my kitty to be obsolete in a few years." Haha. I told her that OS X is just getting started (see the iPhone).

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is coming to the DS#

Woot! Though the PSP ports were a huge disappointment (the PSP’s direction pad rendered the controls all but unusable), I’m sure Nintendo will get it right. To that end, Ed Boon silences a lot of our fears regarding the touch screen: “[S]ince the player’s hands will be busy with the direction pad and the attack buttons, we probably won’t do something crazy like having the player touch the screen for punches and kicks.”

First artificial life may be only months away#

[S]cientists in the US took the whole genetic makeup - or genome - of a bacterial cell and transplanted it into a closely related species. This then began to grow and multiply in the lab, turning into the first species in the process.

I bought an iPhone

June 29, 2007

A couple of weeks ago I said I wasn't going to get a first-gen model, but seriously, did you really think I could stop myself? Really? While I've written extensively about the iPhone's shortcomings (see here, and more recently here), we all know that whatever don't-buy-anything willpower I may possess (OK, so I don't have any of that) dissolves in the face of mobile gadgets, especially those from One Infinite Loop.

As hokey as it may sound, I just kind of felt like I was supposed to have one (and if you know me at all you saw that coming from a mile away). As one friend put it, "How else am I going to know if I should get one if I don't have you to tell me?" I'm just playing my part.  :)

Immediate impressions (likely colored by my "nerd high")

  • This first one is a biggie: I actually don't have too much to complain about with regard to the keyboard. Can you believe that? I don't know if it's because of my SureType experience or what, but, well, it's totally usable.
  • There's no denying that it's absolutely gorgeous in every way — the screen, the design, the build quality — all wonderful.
  • The UI is very responsive — it feels fast.
  • Activation/setup through iTunes could not have gone faster/smoother.
  • The "visual" voicemail feature is nice.
  • It's neat that text messages pop-up as you're doing other things.
  • The translucency used by some parts of the UI has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
  • Everyone who doesn't have one is going to want one (even if they don't know it yet).
  • I love having OS X in my pocket.   ;)
  • Safari is incredible.
  • Google Reader finally has a decent mobile implementation and it has nothing to do with Google Reader.  :P
  • It's got a phone!

Oh, and one last piece of advice for Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung: bow out gracefully.

Niggling complaints to follow.

The personification of the iPhone

June 27, 2007

Does it bother anyone else that Apple refers to the iPhone with and without the article "the?" The video demos, Steve himself, TV commercials, and other Apple-produced copy are rife with both the iPhone-is-an-inanimate-object and iPhone-is-alive phrasings. Personally, I think it sounds rather ridiculous when I hear something like, "iPhone does this," or "iPhone responds to that," or "iPhone loves to fetch tennis balls."

Though they've been doing the same thing with the iPod for a couple of years now, it's been largely ignorable; however, the current and incessant referencing of the iPhone without the "the" — as if it is sentient — is impossible to get away from and is really starting to grate. It just doesn't ‘sound' right.

How uses, not innovations, drive human technology#

[N]o one is very good at predicting technological futures; new and old technologies coexist; and technological significance and technological novelty are rarely the same -- indeed, a given technology's grip on our awareness is often in inverse relationship to its significance in our lives.