Robot Tuxedo

Cultured Automaton

Page 4


A Matter of Inches

John Gruber weighs in Apple upping the iPhone’s screen to 4".

His thoughts closely mirror the ones I put down yesterday about how and why this might happen. I’m especially in agreement with the fact that—if this does go down—Apple won’t be reserving a portion of those extra pixels for itself.

Continue reading →


John Gruber’s ‘The Talk Show’ moves from 5by5 to The Mule Radio Network

The first episode of The Talk Show, with John Gruber of Daring Fireball, is up at The Mule Radio Syndicate. This is the new podcast network from Mike Monteiro’s Muledesign.

This appears to mean that the show has moved away from the 5by5 network, which has been its home for some 90+ episodes. The Talk Show has been absent for the past two weeks on 5by5, I guess this is why.

I quite liked the rapport that Gruber had with 5by5 host Dan Benjamin, so this makes me a tad sad. But the first episode is co-hosted by John Moltz, who runs the smart and incredibly funny Very Nice Website, so that’s a good start.

Here’s the official announcement on Daring Fireball.

Mule Radio has a nice app as well, if you’d like to listen.

Continue reading →


Good WWDC Tips For First-Timers

My buddy Casey Liss has some great tips for WWDC, especially if you’re a first-timer this year. All worthwhile pieces of advice, but the bit about bringing an iPhone battery pack is a biggy. Seriously, don’t come without one.

My favorite at the moment, and I’ve tried a lot, is the Mophie Juice Pack Plus.

Last Macworld, the Olloclip lens accessory for iPhone also got a big workout. Ben Brooks was passing his around the group because we forgot ours. It’s definitely a good buy, especially for those tight indoor shots and should be a big hit this WWDC.

Continue reading →


“Yo, Check Out This Tape”

One day, when I was about 9 or so, my cousin gave me a mixtape. It was black, with dirty white labels on both faces.

The contents were scrawled on the labels in ball-point pen, with the text crowding into the corners and folding back on itself to stay in the lines. On one side of the tape was written “Doolittle - Pixies, Bloodletting - Concrete Blonde”.

The label on the other side was dedicated completely to one album. It read “Beastie Boys - License to Ill.”

I wore that thing out playing it on repeat in my Sony Walkman on the bus to school, the smell of vinyl and unwashed kids heavy in the air.

That tape would end up defining my musical life for a decade and ended up forming the backbone of the music I love today. I haven’t talked to him in years but I owe him for introducing me to the ‘Boys.

Today, MCA, Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys, died from...

Continue reading →


The IPad 2,4 and The Genius of Tim Cook

As I conjectured a few weeks ago, Apple switching to a 32nm process in a tweaked version of the A5 processor in the ‘old’ iPad, (called iPad 2,4) has resulted in better battery life. Anandtech ran some tests and the difference is hefty, clocking in at close to 16% more life on the same battery.

This bodes well for a 32nm LTE iPhone this fall, as it should show up alongside a 28nm Qualcomm chip and a slightly improved battery, retaining current iPhone 4S usage times, even with LTE.

In addition, the 32nm die being smaller decreases the fail-rate of their manufacture, driving down costs slightly and increasing the margins on the most important iPad Apple sells.

This also allows Apple to test the 32nm part in a ‘stealthy’ way, rolling it out in a subset of older iPad 2s in order to give them time to suss out the issues that could arise.

I think ‘making it...

Continue reading →


How Andreessen Horowitz Lost Out on $100s of Millions by Betting Against The iPhone-only Instagram

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger had limited personel resources available when it came time to build Burbn into Instagram. For that reason, and likely others, they decided to focus on an iPhone app.

Marc Andreessen, after investing an initial $250k in Burbn, dropped off the investment map and, when it came time to decide between the cross-platform Picplz and the iPhone-only Instagram, he (and the organization) went with Picplz. This meant that they missed out on the next round of funding, which accounts for some 10% of the company.

Unlike Instagram, Picplz planned a cross-platform approach. It had just launched an app for Android in May and planned to roll out an iPhone app in August. Instagram would not launch its iPhone app until October.

Mr. Andreessen suddenly found himself in the awkward — and conflicted — position of having two competing products in his portfolio. He told the two...

Continue reading →


Has the Smartphone Killed Our Sense of Wonder?

This was originally published a couple of years ago, but I thought it was worth transplanting here. I’ve also been able to make a couple of needed structural changes

iPhone Lodged in Brain

I’m flying down the beach. The wind rushes in my ears as the inhuman power of the horse beneath me propels me down the strand, it’s muscles bunching and flexing as it’s hooves dig into the soft, slightly damp sand and throw it up and back in a blurry fan that flies out through the edges of my vision, softened by the liquid that my tear ducts are furiously pumping out to try to keep my eyes lubricated.

The sun and surf are blending together like the scrubbings of a wet oil brush on canvas. All the while I pull in deep breaths of coconut oil, hibiscus and warm skin, the smell of Tahiti.

After a few minutes of this, my eyes glaze over and I reach my left hand down towards my pocket and pull out my iPhone, just to...

Continue reading →


Interface Origami

Clever idea for physical interface mockups from Juan Sanchez. The image below demonstrates an interesting point about 1:1 interaction with digital interfaces though.

Notice how the interface element hasn’t been completely revealed and the thumb is already ‘off screen’. Concessions have to be made when a physical interface is translated over. Perhaps a threshold beyond which an action is automatically completed, or an accelerated rate of movement that breaks the 1:1 ‘sticky finger’ interaction model.

How those concessions are made, and how they are communicated to the user are important.

Physical mockups for interfaces using paper

Continue reading →


The Risks in Backing Kickstarter Projects for Games

A nice, well-balanced take by Ben Kuchera at The PA Report. Backing anything, but games and complex industrial products especially, on Kickstarter is risky. Think like a mini-VC and you should be ok: business plan, talented and established team with a track record, business people involved.

As a side note, if you’re interested in great game writing and a curated list of ‘must-reads’ in that arena, Ben is doing great work over there.

Continue reading →


Tell me again. Why we think Apple will make a TV set?

Fortune’s Philip-Elmer Dewitt on why the heck Apple needs to make a full-on TV at all.

One more thing. No one has championed the idea of an Apple-branded TV set longer or more enthusiastically than Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, who has been writing about it since 2009. But what set him going down this path?

The answer came in a Munster profile published last Friday in Bloomberg Businessweek:

“Somebody close to Apple said we needed to be doing more work on the television and that started it all,” Munster says. “You start with these crumb trails, then it turns into a dirt road, and now it’s a paved road.” Indeed it is. But what if Munster’s tipster was trying to lead him to Apple TV, the set-top box, and not some still-mythical TV set?

Update: What I’ve heard—second hand—is that the tip Munster got about the Apple...

Continue reading →