Archive for Mac

Ocarina iPhone app

I’ve been wondering why we haven’t seen more iPhone apps that take a page from the DS and incorporate “blow into the mic” functionality. Since I don’t own an iPhone (yet!) though, I may have missed some.

But how cool is this? Nevermind that the movie below demos the “Zeldarian mode,” but get this: apparently it responds not only to your breath and multi-touch, but to the tilt of the iPhone as well. And you can actually listen to other Ocarina app users around the world.

Right now it’s 99 cents. ZOMG!

Ocarina in the App Store.

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Wii News Channel Launches a Day Early

Yes, bitches, I got my Wii. Two full months after launch. But I’ll have to update you on how it all happened later.

Right now, it’s movie time!

Waking up to a glowing slot this morning, I found a message from Nintendo announcing the availability of the News channel, a full day earlier than expected. Here’s some shaky cam footage of my first acquantence with it.

I edited together the movies hastily. The volume starts out low (sorry, it was still early in the morning) and I didn’t decide to do a bit of mumbling commentary until the last couple of movies–didn’t want to provoke the derision of K, still in bed, since I was filming Wii channels. 🙂

Some initial observations: parts of it struck me as very Mac-like. Specifically, the Zoom in and Out feature, and the Globe view. The way that words in the former, and news pages in the latter rearranged themselves reminded me of Exposé.

And I caught the Help cat! (Use the A + B buttons to nab it.)

Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to frame the footage correctly with one hand, while using the Wii-mote to navigate the News channel with the other, but the the interface for browsing headlines seemed a bit clunky. Perhaps this is what the Slide Show feature and Globe “browser” is supposed to alleviate.

Reading stories about the dumbass DJs and seeing quotes about “rabid video gamers [getting] help keeping in touch with the outside world ” via the News channel was very meta.

The background music needs to be peppier, though. It was a bit too downtempo and mellow for the early morning, which is when a lot of folks might check the news.

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Snowglobe for OSX

I found this nifty bit of freeware last year. Just particle effects, but still a neat idea because it’s:

  • Portable – You can email it other OSX users or post somewhere for them to download
  • Personalizable – Drag and drop your own jpgs, gifs, pngs or pdfs
  • Interactive – Shake it!

Thank you Freeverse for the fun toy. Happy Holidays from me! 🙂

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Brand Loyalty

The KingI'm pretty susceptible to advertising. Or at least I've noticed this when it comes to fast food. I can count on one hand (OK, maybe two) the amount of times that I've seen a commercial for some sort of crispy chicken thing on TV and gone out to try it within hours. Invariably hating myself afterwards for expecting the taste to be anything more than the oil in the fryer.

Let's just get it out of the way now. While the King character/brand is appealing and funny in a creepy kind of way, BK Chicken Fries are just plain nasty.

I've been meaning to create a new category for this blog about Privacy concerns, or something like that. A place to examine some of the stray threads my paranoid mind has plucked out of the air. There would likely be some overlap with another category, Social justice/change, or something. But, like everything else with this blog, it'll have to wait.

Let me just jump to the DS stuff now. I've had my Nintendo DS for less than a year, and I'm a freak for it. This also happens to coincide with a reawakened appetite for video games in general.

In any case, I make a practice of not registering my products. Marketers likely know everything there is to know about me anyway, but I'm trying to be more aware of the information I voluntarily give up.

But dangle a shiny bauble, or pink stylus, in front of me and I'm yours. Suckers who registered their copy of Kirby Canvas Curse (a game I still need to review) were sent a bright pink stylus. Registering three items, I quickly learned, got you three free copies of Nintendo Power. A slippery slope slathered with the grease of a hundred chicken fries.

When you willingly fill out surveys to enter a feedback loop with companies whose products you spend a large portion of your time with, you're pretty much heavily invested, don't you think? There's only one corporation I've sold (most of) my soul to: Apple Computer. But Nintendo has created some potent brand loyalty in me with the DS and the impending release of the Wii.

I actually look forward to filling out their game surveys on my registered products; believing somewhere in my heart that it has a direct effect on the games I play and enjoy. Someone disabuse me of this notion if you know something to the contrary or feel a need to hit me with a cynicism stick.

The latest survey arrived last Friday. This one was for Brain Age (another game whose review is long overdue. Perhaps I should just compile a list of what I'm currently playing. And if there's no review for it, just assume I'm too busy loving and playing it to write one.)

Here are a few screenshots of some of the questions. Sorry for the crappy layout, will try to figure out a better way to do this in the future. (Apparently no love for DSfanboy.com in the last screenshot–what up with that?)

Brain Age survey screen shot

Brain Age survey screen shot 3

Brain Age survey screen shot 4

Brain Age survey screen shot 5

Brain Age survey screen shot 6

I left some pretty extended feedback when certain questions prompted it. This makes me think of a friend whose boyfriend works at Snowblind Studios. I hear about some of the outrageous requests and scarily obsessive mail that regularly comes in.

I wonder if all my earnest feedback and good faith is just another means of giving up certain kinds of information about myself that I can't see from where I am right now. If it will ultimately be used in ways I don't approve of. Even with all of my brain training, I don't have an answer.

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Time Saving Keystroke: Cmd-`

OK, so just about all of us know that hitting Cmd-Tab allows us to cycle through all of our open applications in OSX, right class? Great way to jump back and forth between applications without having to move your hand away from the keyboard, in addition to quitting and hiding them too.

Well get this. I recently learned an even cooler keystroke from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (get thee to the sidebar for this and more cool links). How did I manage to use my computer for four years without knowing this?

Hitting Cmd-` (the key right above Tab on most keyboards) allows you to cycle through documents within the current application. 

So having a bunch docs in Word is no longer such a bother to sift through, even with Exposé. This is one of those deceptively simple timesavers that makes all the difference in my workflow now, and that I have a hard time imagining living without. 

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Basic Mac OSX Security

I’ve seen lots of articles covering this subject, but this one was actually pretty good. I’ve already implemented many of them, but it’s a good reminder anyway.

I will say that creating a non-admin user account for daily use was a bit of a bother. Enough for me to abandon it–but that was back in the Jaguar days. Authenticating when necessary seems easier in Panther. I think I’ll give this one a go again.

And I’ve mucked about with the Keychain, but I always feel like I’m missing something. It might be that Tiger made some improvements here that makes it easier to manage in a secure way. I’ll give it a try anyway.

Read Basic Mac OS X Security.

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Tools I Use

So, there was this meme out there that many geeks jumped on: posting lists in their blogs of all the tools they use. I’m sure I’ll have to draw this one out over several posts, but here’s what I can think of so far:

  • OS: Mac OSX (10.3.9)
  • Email client/host: Mail.app and Gmail (chose the latter for it’s free POP access but keeping an eye on Google’s privacy policy)
  • Browser: Firefox, for its extensions (esp. AdBlock Plus) and the fact that I can make it look like Safari. Check my Firefox tag in my del.icio.us to see what I mean.
  • News aggregator: NetNewsWire Lite
  • Instant messaging/VoIP/video chat: iChat (which necessitates a screenname with evil AIM)
  • FTP client: Transmit
  • HTML editor: Dreamweaver MX
  • Media player: VLC, opensource (and cross platform), plays many formats that the typical stuff won’t (Quicktime, WiMP, Real Player)
  • Screen capture: Paparazzi!, very cool since it allows you to squeeze a long webpage into a single printout/screenshot
  • Mind-mapping software: MyMind, found it useful in designing a website’s architecture and sitemap

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