I did a little experiment this morning, disabling plug-ins in my browser aka "the iPad experience". See where things start to break down? The Apple iPad web browsing experience, not quite what you expect. Yes, there are native apps for a number of these sites (social gaming on Facebook anyone?) I'm specifically talking about the web browsing which Steve yesterday called "the best web experience you’ve ever had".

The message here seems to be, if you have an interesting site that we don't support create an app for it.

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Just hours after the product got announced, a lot has already been said and written about the Apple iPad and I don't particularly feel I have a lot to add except for that "one more thing". I've been working almost exclusively on Mac for about five years now and its a decision I've never regretted. One thing I've always admired is how polished the user experience is and the attention for details makes Apple products a real joy to work with.

Today, Steve Jobs proudly proclaimed "It's the best web experience you've ever had." -- while I would love to believe him on that, this is what we saw.

iPad - no Flash Player support

No Flash Player support. Surprising? Not really. Disappointing? Yes.

Think of Flash what you will, thats a different discussion, and I've shared my views in an earlier post. Flash content is an integral and important part of the web experience, there's a full decade of SWF material out on the Internet that is essentially out of bounds for your users.

On a mobile device with limited specs we could see some reasoning behind it, although just about every other mobile manufacturer didn't find it a problem to partner in the Open Screen Project and roll out Flash Player 10.1 support on their devices.

With the iPad we're talking about a different device, a processor that clearly is capable of high performance rendering and a user base with different expectations when they sit down in their sofa to browse the web, play games, watch video and cartoons,...

This is your chance to really go for the best web browsing experience possible. With an iPad specific SDK reportedly coming out, work with Adobe and allow them to roll out a Flash Player for your new device. It will allow your users to opt-in to what a lot of us believe is a better experience on this ground breaking device.

To those of you that agree that Flash support is essential for a device like the iPad, I urge you to speak up as many have already done.

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We've sure come a long way since Steve Jobs did this demo of the Macintosh computer on January 24th 1984. I was two years old at the time and the closest thing I can remember is programming some BASIC on my dad's Apple IIGS when I was six or seven. Just imagine another 25 years from now and how we'll be interacting with computers -- things evolve at such a rate its hard to make any sort of reliable prediction.

It really is a triumph of technology and inspired creativity that pushes innovation, with Apple in many ways still leading the pack.


CategoriesMac, Video

So, what can you do with an old PC notebook and some time on your hands? Why not try getting Mac OS X Leopard to run on it. Turned out not to be too difficult at all, if you look around you'll find detailed walkthroughs on how to get it done.

These are some specs of my old Acer TravelMate 8006 LMi notebook:

Intel Pentium M 755 2 GHz 512 MB DDR SDRAM ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 - 128 MB

As you'll see in the video above, it takes a little while for Leopard to boot but it does run pretty slick. Unfortunately my wifi card (Intel2200BG) was not supported out of the box so had to go with a third party port for Darwin which is not quite there yet making wifi connectivity a bit of a pain to set up.

You mileage may vary in getting it installed, what worked for me was formatting the partition as Master Boot Record using Disk Utility in the setup and then customizing the install, deselecting everything except for the EFI boot loader for MBR.

From there onwards the install is pretty straightforward, when you boot up again afterwards it appeared to be stuck on the Apple boot screen. That is in fact not the case, it for some reason takes an incredibly long time to get through it the first time you run -- probably close to 45 minutes.

Its an interesting proof of concept, nice to play around with but I think I'll end up installing something like Ubuntu after I've tested it some more -- unless of course Apple decides to officially support it (and pigs fly) ;)

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When you've got Installer.app installed on your iPod Touch you'll notice that it allows you to install Apache and a number of scripting languages (PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby). That's all well and good but getting it to run in on that local Apache install is another thing. Just managed to get it to work with PHP 5.2.3 so just follow along if you're in the same situation:

1. Edit /etc/profile and update the line setting PATH to read as follows:


2. Edit /etc/httpd/httpd.conf and add the following to the end of the file:

ScriptAlias /php /opt/iphone/bin AddType application/x-httpd-php .php Action application/x-httpd-php "/php/php-cgi"

2. Restart Apache by SSH'ing to the iPod Touch and running the following command:

apachectl restart

Now put your PHP files into the webroot (/Library/WebServer/Documents/) and access them by pointing Safari to<path_to_your_file>.php

I'm yet to try it with Perl and Ruby but that should just be a matter of adding another ScriptAlias to httpd.conf of your local Apache install. Enjoy!

CategoriesGeneral, Mac
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I'm a very happy camper -- spent about an hour this afternoon hacking my new iPod Touch and thanks to the guys at touchdev.net I now have third party applications enabled with the 1.1.1 firmware!

All in all it wasn't that difficult to do if you strictly follow the step by step instructions. If you're scared of opening up Terminal this jailbreak process is going to be a bit daunting though. To enable third party applications on your iPod Touch just follow this guide: http://www.touchdev.net/wiki/Jailbreak_Guide

Here are a few minor hiccups I ran into:

- Had problems getting libreadline to work when not copied into the root folder of your HD (/opt/local/lib/libreadline.5.2.dylib) - Cyberduck really is the best FTP software to SFTP into the device, tried Transmit and had some issues renaming folders

I currently have the following apps installed:

- Mail (iPhone) - Weather (iPhone) - Stocks (iPhone) - Notes (iPhone) - Maps (iPhone) - Calendar (adding events enabled) - Taptap Revolution - Stumbler - Sudoku - MobileCast - MobileRSS - VNsea

As was to be expected some of the apps listed in Installer.app don't work well on the iPod Touch (yet) but overall its been a very positive experience. When someone gets round to porting Flash Player for use on the iPod this will be my all time favorite multimedia device.

CategoriesGeneral, Mac
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[update] Got the problem resolved today, managed to do a direct trade-in of the broken magsafe at a local Apple retail store and bought another spare adaptor. All's well that ends well... I've been a very satisfied switcher with my new MacBook Pro and Parallels setup, until the inevitable happened over the weekend. First my magsafe adaptor cable started to show some abnormal bending near the magnet connection and a little while later it started to go brown with the insulation wire melting away.

Definitely not a good thing to happen with something plugged into a 2000 USD piece of equipment you love (and rely on on a daily basis). Being a Sunday Apple telephone support was unavailable.

I called them today and after walking through the problem with the support engineer (followed by some 20 minutes of holding music) was told my best chance was to head out to an Apple retail store and hand the thing in for *repair* which would take approximately 2 weeks.

Luckily did some research beforehand and told him Apple support generally sends out a new adaptor right away and let's you return the broken item. "We can do that..." was the answer but it would take them a minimum of 5 days. I can't believe it - they seriously expect you to go without your Mac for close to a week, since there is now no way to charge it.

Now for the best bit -- I can *buy* a new magsafe adaptor on their online Apple store and have it shipped within 24 hours -- apparently the same doesn't apply to hardware covered by their seriously overpriced and apparently useless AppleCare extended warranty.

With Flash on the Beach coming up I wanted to play it safe and bought a second adaptor online (unfortunately went for the wrong model, a 60 Watt version for the MacBook whereas MacBook Pro needs 85 Watt -- will have to check if it still works). If worst comes to worst I'll just have to drop in at the London Apple store and buy another magsafe adaptor there.

Meanwhile its back to a very dodgy PC notebook... I am not amused Steve Jobs!

CategoriesMac, Rants
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MacBook Pro It took me a little while to bite the bullet but Apple coming out with a MacBook Pro on an Intel Core Duo processor finally convinced me to switch.

Lovin' it so far, the only painful bit will be buying a Windows XP Pro license this afternoon to run it inside Parallels. Until universal binaries come out for software I use on a daily basis I'll be switching between Mac OS X and Win XP at the click of a button.

Some minor annoyances coming from the PC world:

  • maximize window is actually fit to content, there don't seem to be any good workarounds to have it behave like you expect it to on a PC. There's all sorts of debate on the web on how its un-Mac to maximize to full screen but I really hate the clutter of windows overlapping and would just like to Alt-Tab between apps.
  • closing a window doesn't close the application, that takes a good bit of time getting used to
  • networking with a PC you need to select the folder you want to access from a dialog box rather than just being able to browse the shared folders in the Finder.

Probably all things I'll get used to after a while though, the good definitely outweighs the bad. Still deciding on what email client I'll use (Thunderbird or Mail), have already installed Firefox as Safari doesn't really do it for me. Virtuedesktops is an absolute must have as well, be sure to install that app if you're switching over to Mac.

More to come!

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