Tom Insam

I tried Twittervision on the iPhone. And it's quite pretty, in a hypnotic way. So I gave it my twitter username/password, to try it as a twittering interface. And it's lousy. But ok, I have a twittering interface. I delete the app.

Today, I see a tweet from @davetroy. Who? I don't know him. Turns out that he wrote Twittervision. And now I'm following him. Which means that (a) his app must have followed him on my behalf, because I didn't do it, and (b) he can now see all my private tweets (because my twitterstream isn't public).

Well, fuck you, Mr Dave Troy.

The iPhone has introduced a positively bewildering array of touch-based gestures we now have to learn, and apply in the right places. So far I've seen:

  • tap
  • drag
  • pinch (zooming)
  • two-finger-drag (in a few places, notably the campfire web app)
  • double-tap (Maps, Safari zoom in)
  • two-finger-double-tap (Maps zoom out)
  • swipe (to indicate you want to delete a row in a table)
  • tap-and-hold (typing accents on the keyboard, editing icons on the homescreen and, since the 2.0 software, in Safari and Mail to save an image to the local camera roll).

Chris Heathcote tells me that there is also drag-and-tap - when dragging between two home screens, a tap during the drag will stop it. Not sure if this is an interface or a bug, personally..


tell application "VoodooPad"
end tell

Recently, thanks to the useful Matt Patterson (Matt, have I paid you yet?) I acquired an Apple Wireless Keyboard.

We'd just moved to a new office, thus a new desk, and for the first time in ages I found myself uncomfortable when typing. For years now I've worked directly on the laptop screen and keyboard, resisting the urge to hang external keyboards and screens off it. It's a laptop, it moves around, and I've always preferred to have the same environment everywhere, rather than having one screen/keyboard at work, and something different at home.

Also, I've always hated external keyboards. After typing on nothing but laptops for five years, I've become used to tiny amounts of key travel and no clickiness. I've lost the ability to press a real keyboard key all the way down, so my typing goes completely broken as soon as I try one.

The back pain dictated a change in this policy. So now the laptop sits on a pile of books, to elevate it to a sensible height, and the keyboard sits under it. Getting the Apple keyboard solved both my problems. It's a disconnected Macbook keyboard - exactly the same layout as my real keyboard, so I don't get upsetting layout changes, and the keys are laptop keys, so are easy to push and don't travel very far. It's the same width as my normal keyboard. Also, no wires. This is great in the same way that a wireless mouse is great.

The biggest surprise has been the new F-key positions. The volume controls have moved from F3/4/5 to F10/11/12, leaving space for Exposé keys, and naturally the backlight keys are missing. I thought this would annoy me, but actually the volume keys are now in much better places, and I get annoyed at the real laptop keyboard. I can find the volume keys without looking down now, by moving to the top-right of the keyboard, in the same way that I've always been able to get at the screen brightness keys by moving to the top-left. I don't use the media control keys, though. I have Synergy for that.

Recently it's going a little soggy, and I suspect battery failure. And the 'down' key needs pressing straight down to work, whereas I turn out to have been pressing the bottom edge of the key on the Macbook Pro. But these are trivial. I like it.

Font size

Rule of thumb for sizing your terminal fonts when doing live demos to a projector: If you can see enough to do anything interesting, the back of the room can't read it.

This morning I had to page back twice on to read all the tweets that had come in overnight. I don't normally do this, normally I just read whatever twiteriffic gives me, and ignore everything else, but I was looking for a specific one. But am I expected to have read them? Are people going to assume that I've seen everything they've twitered? I do enough catching up in the mornings already without having to remember what the most recent twitter I've seen was and paging back till I see it.

The new iPhone firmware geolocates all the photos you take. It asks your permission first, but not in a very good way - it'll say something like 'This app would like access to your location'. Say yes, and you're putting your exact position into every photo you take. Put an incidental photo on flickr and everyone knows where you were and when (because there's a timestamp in the upload as well). Sell something on eBay, using a photo you took in your house, and now everyone knows where you live.

Is this not a little creepy?

(True, Flickr don't import geotagging information by default. But I can still get the EXIF tags from the original image if you allow me access to that)

Oh, also, an argument from the exact opposite direction. The camera app gives no indication of if it knows where you are, and how close, so if you want a geolocated photo, you never know if you've got a fix yet and it's safe to take one. The camera roll doesn't indicate which photos are geotagged. You can't look at a photo on the iPhone (or in iPhoto for that matter) and see where you were when you took it. So to a normal user, the feature is totally unexposed, and to a power user, it's totally unusable.

This geotagging feature is completely half-arsed.


Oh, also, this is an historic occasion. My first YouTube embed. Should I be proud, or ashamed?