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Ta-da List


June 25, 10:30 | Comments (9)

The community of seduction

Steve Jobs is the chieftain. Apple owners the tribesmen. WWDC and MacWorlds the scheduled worships of the Holy Platform. It's a community of seduction. So alluring that even if you stop to think about the nature of the marvels (easy web-cam chat) — and perhaps even question the legitimacy of the excitement — you're never even thinking about thinking to "get out".

The rush of shared excitement factors way more sway on decision making than measly arguments over 10% of performance one way or the other. Excitement justifies the cost of desires and unites in a common appreciation in spite of rational analysis.

Apple may or not better the Wintel platform, but it's the community of seduction that fosters our, at times, irrational loyalty and keeps us more than content in our decision. Steve Jobs have discovered and serves our basic needs of belonging with a sugar-coat of excellent products.

June 18, 22:29 | Comments (1)

Reboot turns six on Friday

Reboot is happening for the sixth time on Friday. It may no longer be an internet industry-wide gathering (attendance is down to one-tenth of bubble-peak high), but all the better. Less fancy suits, dressed-up secretaries, and "day-off mentality". Just really interesting speakers, a clever crowd, and more learning opportunities.

My buddy/coworker/employer Jason Fried is also in town for the 'boot. He'll be talking about design done 37signals' style. No doubt that'll be interesting. Below he's enjoying the good sun and brew of Nyhavn at the "Nyhavn 37" place.

And since this is the Reboot week, I've been having fun with some Reboot Bag Spooting (TM) for the last few days:

You can still make it, btw. Entrance is DKK 1500, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight snack in addition to 18-hour(!) program. If you're going, leave a note in the comments, and we'll hook up!

June 18, 13:57 | Comments (23)

Nokia 3650 vs Nokia 6600: It's the colors!

Yes, the Nokia 6600 is smaller and lighter, features a standard keyboard, and does Java MIDP 2.0. What matters much more, though, is the color range. It has the same amount of screen real estate (176x208 pixels), but with 16-bit instead of 4096 colors.

Who cares about the amount of colors on a mobile phone? Video does. Greatly. Below is a comparison shot from a single frame of a Simpsons episode I encoded played back in 4096 and 16-bit color. The difference is more than noticeable.

Unfortunately, Nokia is going to hold out on us with the 6600 until the third quarter. Damn. I want it now!

June 17, 12:32 | Comments (8)

NetNewsWire adds combined view

Radio UserLand has been presenting RSS feeds as one long continuous flow since the beginning, but for some reason it hasn't been an instant big hit with other RSS readers. Which is very strange since it's a much faster and more enjoyable way to quickly scan a bunch of content. The old-way is reminiscent of the click-fest that is the game Diablo.

Anyway, the combined view is only available in the latest beta. And betas are only for paying customers. Hence, I'm now a paying customer (and back to posting to Loud Thinking from within NetNewsWire).

June 17, 11:01 | Comments (22)

Real MPEG-4 playback on Nokia 3650

3GPP is poor-man's MPEG-4. The specification mandates that movies run a maximum of 15 frames per second from a throughput of 64 kbit/sec, which leaves a paltry 4.3 kbit per frame. Of course, it sounds a lot worse than it is. 3GPP is certainly watchable and, especially with cartoons, even enjoyable. It pales in comparison, though, with the unrestricted variety of MPEG-4 that doesn't limit frame rates or throughput.

So why not do unrestricted MPEG-4 decoding right on the phone?


June 13, 13:10 | Comments (2)

Add iPod sound to the mobile cinema

Mono sound through a loud speaker tuned for low-quality telephone conversations doesn't do much to cooperate the idea of the mobile cinema. So in my search for the latter, I quickly realized that it was necessary to move the audio part of the experience away from the Nokia 3650 and onto something more suitable. Luckily, the answer was obvious: My iPod.


June 11, 12:04 | Comments (22)

Movies and calendars on Nokia 3650

Change a single boolean in the iSync config and iCal will synch the calendar with the Nokias. Some people are getting off-by-one errors, which is probably why it's not generally available. But it works perfectly on my setup.

The ability to watch full-lenght videos and TV-series with RealOne is even cooler, though. I just got my 128MB MMC card and a card reader to go with it. I just converted an episode of Simpsons (10MB) and an episode of Friends (14MB) to 3GP. It works surprisingly well. Simpsons is by far the nicest quality, but Friends is also certainly watchable.

This phone just keeps on giving.

June 08, 13:34 | Comments (7)

End-user conduct agreement?

The bond between customer and company are bound to grow stronger as companies get more personal with a life narrated in blogs and on discussion boards. This bond can be used as a direct report both ways, but does this mean that it must be used as such? Is it a kind of with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility bond?

In Dave Winer's blast on TypePads "touting" of the standards compliance, he seems to think so:

BTW, without a doubt the users of this product will flame me hard. That's another thing I don't like about this company. They haven't asked their users to back off using flames as a way of forcing their views on others. One of things I'm most proud of about UserLand's customers is that they generally listen to other points of views without trying to silence them.

Besides noble intentions, this smells like mandating behavior. The heat of flames are relative and subjective. I can't help but feel that Winer is trying to export his moral standards ("UserLand would tell customers not to flame, so must Six Apart") under the pretext of a globally shared imperative.

That's a narrow and selective interpretation of how this newfound bond between companies and customers should be used. It would have been much better served as an open question ("should companies police the customer conduct?") instead of an attack with a side-dish of gross generalization ("UserLand customers are better than MovableType customers").

Update: The whole part about mandating behavior has been changed to "That's life. Onward." Writer's regret?

Update 2: Now the whole thing is gone. It has been replaced with a piece about Six Apart's "funky" support of RSS.

June 06, 14:23 | Comments (9)

Pre-exam clues and hopeless computations

The pre-exam buzz is awash with clues on curriculum focus, examinator approaches, and censor state of minds. Unfortunately, these clues are wrapped in hopeless web of speculation, half-truths, doomsday fear, and wishful thinking, which bars any reasonable computations on odds to be formed. A small taste:

  • "I heard Leon dished out two 03's and two 05's -- no mercy!"
  • "It's possible to get Lene as an examinator after all, so project management is definitely in..."
  • "He got totally fried on a single word in the appendixes..."

Not exactly empirical data of the highest validity or veracity. But what we lack in quality, we make up for in quantity. That's why the pre-exam buzz is so interesting. Everybody is gathering a wealth of information from a broad variety of sources, then unleashing hopelessly invalid computations upon it, and is left with a handful of conclusions.

These conclusions can then be bend and applied at will to feel good about a bad exam ("since everyone knows censor was a witch, anyway"), justify skipping out on part of the curriculum ("Lene isn't going to toast us on this..."), or blow existing fears out of proportions ("oh man, Leon is going to roast me good!!").

If you'll excuse me, I have buzz mill to attend to...

June 03, 15:43 | Comments (11)

Nokia 3650 synching and movies on OS X

Among friends, it's been no secret that my new Nokia 3650 has me more than a little enthralled. There's just so much to love. The astonishing picture quality from the tiny camera, a perfect email-client speaking IMAP over GRPS and doing attachments with ease, decades of retro-gaming with the GameBoy and C64 emulators, a sweet calendar, and browsing with mobile Opera. All in a single, slick package for around $300.

And now Apple just blessed it with iSync-compatibility! Version 1.1 adds address book (with pictures) synchronization and promises calendar (the most important thing) and to-do lists "soon". Hopefully "soon" is defined as in days or weeks, not months.

On top of that, QuickTime 6.3 allows for a 3GPP plug-in, so the movies recorded from the camera phone can be played-back outside of Nokia's closed, Windows-based player. That is freaking awesome. Prepare to see mobile movie-blogging rocket.

The Nokia 3650 is the phone to own.