Back in the days of OS X 10.1 I wasn't a really big fan of the striped backgrounds, overblown transparency, and over-the-top animations Apple was using to show off their new desktop. However, in the last few releases they've tightened up the look of their OS, made it much more consistent, and have ended up with a really nice design that I find very inspiring. The OS X aesthetic has of course translated over to the iPhone, where it's even more elegant.
One of the little touches that I really like is that label-style text on a gradient or colored background has a slight emboss effect that really makes it pop off the background and gives everything a nice 3D physicality without being too overt. You can see examples on the iPhone, in button and header text as well as the icons on the top bar:
I fiddled around in Fireworks for a while trying to replicate the effect, but I couldn't quite get it right until I asked a friend at work, who quickly pointed out that it's really just a simple...
I haven't been updating this blog too much recently. I never meant for this blog to run on a schedule, but I did intend to post more frequently than this. My original idea was that the blog would serve two major purposes. First, it is a place for me to announce new projects or updates to software and websites I've already released. It's done that quite well, though I haven't had much to announce recently. My job has been taking the majority of my development time, and most of the projects I've been working on at home are either private or haven't been released in the form I'd like to because my employer hasn't approved them for release yet.
The second major purpose for my blog is as a place for me to record the solution to problems I run across while developing software, so that others won't have to spend hours Googling or using trial and error to come to the same conclusion. I didn't intend to rehash things that were easily found or that had already been discussed - only to post when I felt it was something that added value to the internet that hadn't been there before. So a lot of the blog posts are not really a narrative or running commentary - they're not meant to be subscribed to, but found individually. It's for this reason that my most popular posts tend to include the exact text of error messages. This type of post has suffered both because I haven't been doing as much development, because I can't discuss a lot of what I've learned due to the nature of the projects I'm working on, and because I've been learning new stuff (like Ruby on Rails) and haven't done enough to have solved problems others haven't already posted solutions for.
The third reason I have this blog is to occasionally talk about my thoughts on different technical topics, from web development to video games. Again, I don't like to make a post unless I think I'm adding something new, and most of the topics I've wanted to talk about have already been covered. I had a lot of draft posts sitting around about web development, web standards, and the evolution of browsers, but then I discovered Alex Russell's blog and it turns out he's already said most of what I wanted to say, and better than I could. Other stuff, like my impressions of Windows Vista, critique of stackoverflow.com and suggestions for the Xbox Live Arcade lineup, have been covered to my satisfaction in plenty of places. Maybe some of them will end up posted, but probably not.
Another part of the reason I haven't posted much is the sheer weight of unfinished posts I have. Right now I have 64 drafts and only 52 real posts! So I'm going to attempt to clear things out by writing a little about what I haven't posted. A lot of this stuff wasn't posted because it fell under that third point above, but some of it I was just too lazy to flesh out into real posts. Some of it's just random stuff. So here's what's been happening in the last year:
Update: It does work! See the note at the bottom of this post.
I've had this post in my “drafts” for about a month now. Originally it was titled “How to use Macintosh shares from Windows Vista”, but I was waiting to actually figure out how to get...
I've been meaning to write about my impressions of the various Windows Vista previews since I first tried it out in January. My thoughts (and my feedback to Microsoft's beta site) have been piling up since then, but I never got around to putting virtual pen to even more virtual paper. However, Paul Thurrott's recent article on where Vista fails really sums up a lot of my feelings here. Thurrott's always been the type who'll try his hardest to find the positive in even the worst Microsoft releases, but as a long time reader, I can tell that he's very, very frustrated with Vista, and as a Windows journalist it really pains him to see something that promised so much deliver so little. He's not alone. I've tried my hardest to like what I've seen of Vista so far, but it's nearly impossible, especially when Mac OS X is out right now, and in many respects better than Microsoft's late update to XP.
This is going to be a pretty long rant, so if you want more you'll have to click inside.
The big news out of Cupertino this morning is BootCamp. It's Apple's beta bootloader for Windows on their previously-closed Mac platform. Now you can dual-boot Mac OSX and Windows XP, complete with drivers for the important bits of the system.
I just heard an interview with Robert Scoble on KUOW (Seattle's NPR station). I've been reading Scoble's blog for a long time, and I have agreed with most of the things he's said over the years about the importance of blogging for companies in a world...