Daring Fireball on “Innovation through simplicity”

Daring Fireball on “Innovation through simplicity”

One of the more common critiques I hear of iOS is that its home screen is boring / featureless / widgetless / uncustomisable.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see customisable widgets in the notifications pull-down of iOS. But the simplicity and consistency of its home screen is a win, in my opinion.

Daring Fireball agrees:

The utter simplicity of the iOS home screen is Apple’s innovation. It’s the simplest, most obvious “system” ever designed. It is a false and foolish but widespread misconception that “innovation” goes only in the direction of additional complexity.

For writers and editors: CriticMarkup

For writers and editors: CriticMarkup

I’ve only recently started using Markdown, but CriticMarkup looks like a useful, non-trivial extension to the syntax. Compatibility with HTML and even LaTeX should make it especially versatile. Hopefully my writing and editing friends will weigh in as the project evolves!

From the linked review:

For someone who writes in Markdown and works with a team on a daily basis, CriticMarkup is the missing piece of a puzzle that required using clunky software like Word for Mac to do any sort of change tracking or markup. CriticMarkup feels like an extension of Markdown in that it allows you, through a simple and easily understandable syntax, to insert additions, deletions, substitutions, comments, and highlights into plain text.

WordPress, Lightbox Plus ColorBox, native galleries and captions

Last night, I posted my first ever native WordPress gallery (old dog, new tricks, etc). The thumbnails were pretty enough, but clicking through to a clunky WordPress “attachment page” – or worse, a raw JPEG file – was too much hard work, so I went looking for a Lightbox plugin for WordPress.

Enter Lightbox Plus ColorBox. Install, check the “Use for WordPress Galleries” option, enable Fancypants styling, done!

Well, almost. It turns out ColorBox doesn’t play nice with captions as rendered by WordPress. I needed to insert this above the wp_footer() call in the theme:

<script type="text/javascript">
    $(".gallery img").each(function(){
        var alt = $(this).attr("alt");
            return val == alt ? "" : alt;

It replaces image titles with their respective captions, unless the caption and title are the same, which would suggest no caption has been specified.

You’re welcome.

Windows apps on Android: because that would be, ah, awesome

Windows apps on Android: because that would be, ah, awesome

My inner geek loves the idea of running Windows apps on phones and tablets via WINE on Android, but I can’t help putting it through my will-this-actually-help-any-end-users filter, and, ah, yeah. WINE on Android is going to be completely and utterly useless. (Except maybe for my dad, who’s a sucker for any modern environment capable of running WordStar.)

Most Windows software is unintuitive with a large, 72dpi screen, full-size keyboard and two-button mouse. Who in their right mind would want to run any of it on a small device optimised for touch-based UI’s?

Not even Android sets its usability bar that low.

But you have fun, Alexandre Julliard. It looks like you know how to:

“Julliard uses an Apple MacBook for development of his software that runs on Linux to run Windows software… Android was emulated for his demo.”

Unreal 3D rendering on iOS and Android: Epic Citadel

I’m not a gamer. At all.

If I’m staring at a screen for fun, it’s to read, write, socialise or code.

But I’m truly impressed with the real-time 3D rendering this free showcase app demonstrates:

Epic Citadel for iOS
Epic Citadel for Android (Google Play)

Check out the falling leaves, flowing water and dynamic sun flare!

Here’s the kicker: the framerate on Mr 3’s first-gen iPad is perfectly acceptable. Of course the iPad 4, iPad Mini and Nexus 7 smoke it, but still. Unreal Engine 3 is amazing.