So long as we’re talking about great updates to great apps, here’s another. Quotebook 2.0 answered two critical needs: iPad and iCloud support. But that’s not all. Quotebook also added URL support, so you can now send quotes from other apps such as Instapaper and Launch Center.
Yesterday my favorite calendar app got a nice update. Fantastical now supports iCloud reminders.
It’s funny, when I first saw the release notes I thought they meant pop-up notifications for event reminders. But no, it’s the to-do items that exist in your iPhone’s Reminders app. And what’s great is that the same natural text recognition that works for creating events also works for creating reminders.
You just type in “Remind me to call my mom tomorrow” and Fantastical will know you’re creating a reminder, not an event, and set the due date for tomorrow. My only quibble here is that you can’t set a specific time for a reminder, only a day.
You can type into Fantastical the same way you would talk to Siri. I often wish that Siri had a way to type in my commands. If I’m in a place where I can’t or don’t want to speak out loud to my iPhone, it would be quicker and easier if there were a way for me to type in my natural language command for Siri rather than having to manually create an event or reminder.
Brand-new Twitter client for the iPad that has a particular focus: catching up on Twitter conversations amongst those you follow. Quip does this quite differently than the way any other Twitter client does, and I think it’s a great.
It’s a clever app and is very well designed. Federico Viticci has written a full review, including info on how Quip differs from Tweetbot regarding conversation display.
If you use Twitter a lot (I certainly do), Quip makes a good additional Twitter client, and it’s priced right: just $0.99 on the app store.
From Pat Dryburgh, a t-shirt celebrating that nobody’s perfect.
John Gruber reading between the lines:
On Tuesday morning, Presidio [the big, keynote room] is booked for the Developer Tools Kickoff, Game Technologies Kickoff, and What’s New in Cocoa sessions. After that, Presidio is pretty much entirely “TBA” from Tuesday afternoon through the end of the day Thursday.
This implies not just that Apple will be announcing new stuff (duh, it’s WWDC), but new stuff that will fill the biggest room in the building with two-and-a-half days worth of sessions.
And speaking of television’s trying times, Dan Frommer reads between the lines in some of Tim Cook’s answers last night regarding Apple TV:
[T]he way Cook was acting – his allusions, his commentary about the TV business, and some nervous chair-twisting – suggested that he was hiding something. (Cook even defended iTunes’ video content library!)
(You can watch this specific segment here.)
I agree with Frommer, Cook’s answers are dodgy and seem uncomfortable.
If Apple TV truly is no more than a hobby then why feel the need to defend it? As it stands today, the Apple TV is a perfectly legitimate device with a great reason for existing: it’s an inexpensive, central hub for two major forms of media we all have our computers stuffed to the brim with: video and music.
But Cook never seemed to settled into a confidence about the device as it is. He kept saying, “We’re gonna keep pulling the string and see where it takes us.”
While driving around town doing errands over the weekend the latest episode of On The Media was airing on NPR and I really enjoyed the topics they covered. From this week’s show description:
On the Media explores the world of television, including how the industry is coping with changing consumer habits, the future of the communal viewing experience, and television on the web.
Assuming the folks who read shawnblanc.net are interested in topics like getting access to digital content, internet television, usage-based cable bills, and the like, I think you’d also find this episode interesting and enjoyable.
If you are going to have Twitter and Facebook buttons on your site, at least have the decency to use something that is minimalistic and non-obtrusive like these custom designs by Christoph Ono. (Via Adam King.)
Dr. Drang on accelerometers.
And for more, check out this interview with the guys who designed the Wii Motion Plus controller.
Another good article from Oliver Reichenstein, this one recommending we ditch the “Tweet This” / “Like This” / “+1 This” buttons that adorn our websites like punch the monkey ads:
What does it mean that every Mashable article has thousands of retweets and likes? It’s not like the number of tweets shows how interesting an article is. It more likely shows the strength of their social media profile.
How much of web design is done because that person did it over there? We see how big sites like Mashable have hundreds or thousands of retweets and so we think that we will get that sort of traffic as well if only we had a Tweet This button of our own.
In my previous site design I had a “Share this on Twitter” link at the bottom of every article. But as I watched and measured the use of that button I found that people were organically sharing my articles on Twitter at a ratio of 5-to-1 those who were clicking the “Tweet this” link.
If you provide excellent content, social media users will take the time to read and talk about it in their networks. That’s what you really want. You don’t want a cheap thumbs up, you want your readers to talk about your content with their own voice.
When I redesigned this site I considered every element and asked myself why it was there and what purpose it served. Based on my own web browsing habits and how I use other people’s sites, I tried to incorporate only what I thought would the most helpful elements to the most amount of readers.
Oliver Reichenstein on the what and why of Information Architects’ new typeface, iABC, which they’re using on their site:
[S]creens are changing not just in size, but also in pixel density. In other words: we do not just need responsive layouts, we also need responsive typefaces. To test that assumption, iA has created its new website with responsive typography and a custom-built responsive typeface.
You can’t see responsive typography on one and the same device. And you can’t even see it comparing the devices if it’s done right. The idea of responsive typefaces is that the typeface always looks and feels the same.
The Boston Public Library has a Flickr set with 351 travel posters from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. And man are they fantastic. I especially love the Union Pacific Streamliner “City of Denver” poster, as well as all of the Austria travel posters.
InstaCRT is an iPhone camera filter app unlike any other. From the FAQ:
Q: What’s the difference between InstaCRT and other camera apps such as Hipstamatic or Instagram?
A: Hipstamatic and Instagram and other apps are applying filters to your photos in the software in your camera. InstaCRT is sending your photo to our office in Stockholm where the photo is displayed on a actual physical 1” CRT monitor which is photographed with a digital SLR from which the new photo is sent back to your phone over the internet.
Watch the video to see how the photos taken with the app show up on that miniature monitor in their office. The final results vary based on the time of day and thus the amount of daylight in their office, and the more people are using the app the longer the wait time for your photo to be processed. Here’s some info about how the app and its server-side software were developed.