Tom Insam Incompetence, Malice and ereading


I’ve been meaning to write about URLs, text and non-web online publishing for a while, but now I don’t have to, because Craig Mod has, and he did it better than I could have done. (He’s also going to get more attention, which is great, because it’s more likely things will change.)

I wonder if there would be scope for an Instapaper 'engine' for iPad magazine developers. I'd buy a magazine in digital form if it came bundled as an Instapaper-powered list of articles, each of which tracked if I'd read them, and how far down I'd scrolled, synchronized this state with all my other iOS devices, and had associated images cached locally, and offered convenient 'tweet this article' functionality.

A pre-instapapered web edition, basically.

What Are Tablets For? · The trade-off is obvious. You win because you can show a bigger picture, which is important, and you lose because it just won’t fit in many pockets, which is important. It’ll go in most purses, though.

ongoing by Tim Bray · Galaxy Tab

Tim thinks tablets are big phones, then. And maybe the tab is. But my iPad is a computer, not a phone.

(via Instapaper)

Unread Count Tracking

I wrote up my unread count sparkline generator code. It watches my various online services and tracks how many unread items I have in each. For instance, you can see that today I suddenly got a lot of unread items in my RSS reader. I blame the Economist.

Having these graphs has had 2 interesting effects. Firstly, I've found it lots easier to keep my unread counts down. For instance, immediately after building it I realised I had far too many things in Instapaper, reminding me to actually read them.

The other effect it has had is that I'm slightly more inclined to read things just before I know the hourly monitoring script triggers. I know I'm being observed now. Maybe I want to deal with this email now, so the graph moves down a notch. I know this is silly and irrational. I assume it'll fade once the novelty of the tracking has worn off. But I felt it was worth mentioning.

Wii Exercise Doesn’t Beat the Gym

During a nine-month period in 2008 following the introduction of the Wii Fit, users of the technology suffered 308 injuries that led to an emergency room visit, according to an estimate from a researcher at Ohio State University.

(via Instapaper)

Roger Ebert I already said I like, and I always put Mark Kermode's radio show on when I'm working on ZP. And both those critics have expressed dismay for the rise of stereoscopic 3D in films. I'm beginning to see that motion controls are to me what 3D is to Ebert and Kermode. A desperate gimmick being overplayed in lieu of any lasting innovation, which sufficiently impresses Joe Tosspot but leaves the critics - the actual thinkers and philosophers of the industry, the ones concerned with the cultural substance of it all - waving their arms trying to get everyone to see just how shallow it really is.

Extra Punctuation: On Kinect and PlayStation Move

The Rambles and the panopticon

When people obsess over the privacy architecture embedded in Facebook, this is what they’re worried about. They worry that they are in a space that deliberately creates the illusion of privacy in order to tempt participants to engage in revealing behaviour, which can then be leveraged for fun and profit by the observers secretly taping the proceedings through one-way mirrors.

(via Instapaper)

The iPad keyboard

I got me an iPad.

The keyboard is good. I can certainly touch-type in landscape mode. Something that surprised me is that I can touch-type on the pixel-doubled iPhone keyboard almost as easily. (Why am I using pixel-doubled iPhone apps? Carcassonne.)

There's a tiny thing that bothers me about it, though I will need to explain some background.

On the iPad keyboard, you can hold shift with one finger and tap a letter with another finger to get a capital letter. Of course you can, that's how shift keys work. You can also press your finger onto the shift key, drag to the letter you want, and let go, and get a capital letter that way. Also nice, and I use this all the time on the iPhone, so it's what I expected.

The 'numeric' key in the bottom-left that alters the keyboard to type numbers and punctuation also does the press-slide-release thing. But it doesn't do the 'hold the key and tap the letter' thing.

Now, this keyboard is so large that I never do the press and slide thing - I'm using two hands here, and the letter I want is a long way from the shift key. On the iPhone I always do the side thing because I'm typing with my thumb. So the iPhone is fine, but I'm finding typing numbers on the iPad harder because you have to tap numeric tap number tap numeric again to type a single number.

Of course, as is usual with Apple hardware, on any lesser device I'd just be thankful I had a keyboard that I could type on. Only Apple stuff is good enough that the tiny things annoy you.