This is the best ad Apple has done in a little while. Photos are something everyone loves, as they capture moments of time that we can't get back, but we can always remember.
I have to admit, like my friend David Chartier, I am a rare breed of nerd who actually likes Facebook. David talked a lot about Facebook Home and its potential. I want to talk about the new iOS app, Facebook 6.0.
The 6.0 update to the Facebook app streamlines the interface for the better, and beefs up its messaging capabilities. One way it does this is through Stickers, which are fun little pictures you can sling around through private or group messages. They’re cute, because they were designed by the awesome David Lanham.
But the real news here is Chat Heads, which show the avatar of the friend(s) you are currently chatting with in a little circle off to the side of wherever you are inside Facebook’s app. You can simply tap the circle and a conversation expands as a layer on top of where you are at, you send a message, tap the circle again, and it collapses the conversation and you go right back to where you were.
It’s a really enjoyable and nice experience.
On Facebook Home for Android, Chat Heads can appear anywhere on your device, even when you are in another app. Right now, this only works within Facebook on iOS, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it stayed that way.
But here is why I like the concept of Chat Heads, and where I’d like to see them go as a concept.
I like that they are not too intrusive during a conversation when you are doing something else. And I think they’d be the perfect interface for iMessage. Right now on iOS, it is kind of jarring to have an active back and forth with a friend over iMessage when you are also trying to look at or do something else. You switch fully from what you are doing to the conversation, then have to switch fully back.
Let’s say I am writing up a post like this on my iPad. I would much rather an iMessage come up off to the side as a little icon and wait for me to tend to it. I simply tap the icon, a conversation popover appears, I fire off a sentence, and tap back to what I am doing. It is a much less distracting way of giving a few seconds for a reply. Why?
Because even though it is a context switch, it is a very good illusion of a partial context switch (which doesn’t exist). It feels like you are only giving away attention peripherally, instead of having to be ripped from your focus of one app and dumped into another. Because you feel like you only give away quick aside of context, and you can see the task at hand right behind the conversation popover, it is easier to return to what you are doing.
Facebook and Apple seem to have a nice relationship, what with the deep integration with iOS and OS X last year. I hope that relationship could start a collaboration where maybe Apple can use the Chat Heads concept for iMessage and SMS, if they also allow Facebook Messages to be a global deal through it. I think I’d be okay with that, especially if there were a toggle.
It is a little hard to imagine that in a short three years how much the iPad has changed the world. It almost feels like it has been around much longer than three years.
I remember not knowing exactly why I
needed wanted an iPad, but venturing out to look at one anyway. Of course, I ended up buying one. And I remember finding that oversized iPhone to be magical.
In these past three years I have owned four — count ‘em, four — iPads. The original, the iPad 2, The New iPad (or iPad 3 in regular person speak), and the best of them all so far — the iPad mini.
I still think that not even Apple knew exactly what the iPad would become when they launched it. And the truth is, it becomes whatever app you are currently running. It can be a book, an instrument, a race car, a movie studio (or movie theater), or be the future of communication drawn into the present.
The truly great thing is the amount of creativity the iPad can unleash in a person as the barrier to interact with a computer is broken down to simply directly touching the thing you are creating.
With each iteration of the iPad, my favorite has been the concentration of it to the lighter, more portable iPad mini. And I can’t help but feel that if we have come this far in three short years, how much further will we be in three more?
If you checked out the site in the past 24 hours, you may have noticed that things seem a little different. It’s a subtle visual change, as the general design stayed fairly similar, but this is definitely a brand new techese.
Without further ado, welcome to techese 4.0. This is the first real visual refresh since November 2011.
But it is so much more than a visual refresh. There are plenty of functional updates as techese has been updated from Squarespace 5 to Squarespace 6.
Here are a few of the changes you’ll enjoy:
- Responsive design for mobile devices (!!!)
- Linked List items will now use Daring Fireball style title links. These are signified with an → to the right of the title. (I’m not updating the back catalog, so this is from now on).
- Simple liking of a post is now available using the little heart below each post.
- Images now use a lightbox if you want to see them larger.
And a couple things to note:
- Permalinks are found below every post by clicking the date.
- The RSS feed has changed to http://techese.net/articles?format=rss, which I have done a 301 redirect for. In my testing, things like the soon-to-perish Google Reader made the switch just fine, but you may want to update the address anyway.
That’s all I have for now. Enjoy the update.
Ever since Iconfactory released a long awaited rewrite to Twitterrific last year, they have been hard at work on bringing the classiest Twitter app out there to being extremely powerful.
Their previous update, 5.1, added Muffling, which is muting for users, hashtags, and links done with a spin that only Iconfactory could come up with. And when 5.1 was released, the release notes subtly teased the next update with an auspicious phrase:
Ollie will return in…OCTOPUSHY
Today’s 5.2 update to Twitterrific features Push Notifications. You can receive notifications for Direct Mentions, Replies, Mentions, Favorites, Retweets, and Follows. They even have fantastic little color symbols that show in the notification itself, which I have found handy to know the type of message at a glance.
Right now Iconfactory is launching Push as a beta, with only the first 1000 accounts gaining access today, though they will be rolling out availability over the next couple weeks. This is being done to ensure their servers are able to handle the load. If you weren’t able to activate push yet, try again the next day to see if you can. Once your account is enabled, it can be enabled on any other number of devices.
There are all sorts of other updates in 5.2. A couple other new features are profiles now show Twitter’s banner images (and look great!) and discussions can be shared via email or Storify.
Some of the improvements are that the timeline can now show 600 tweets at a time up from 400, improvements to username autocomplete, and the load more button now animates as loads, along with a laundry list of other improvements and fixes.
If you are looking for the friendliest Twitter client out there, you need Twitterrific. Everyone’s favorite blue bird costs just $2.99 in the App Store.