AT&T Shocked by iPhone Usage

Proof of what a good UI can do: Web-enabled phones have been able to use search engines forever. But Apple Insider reports that “Google has seen 50 times more search requests coming from Apple iPhones than any other mobile handset. They were so shocked, in fact, that they suspected that they had made an error tabulating their data.” ZDNet blog:

According to the Financial Times Vic Gundotra, head of Google’s mobile operations, said that if other handset manufacturers follow in Apple’s footsteps and make Web access easier on their handsets the number of mobile searches could outpace fixed internet search “within the next several years.”


In related news René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, says iPhone is driving up average wireless data usage as much as 30 times higher than on other phones.

Will be interesting to see whether Google’s own Android will be able to match the iPhone’s search numbers. The gauntlet has been thrown.

Music: Herbie Hancock :: Tea Leaf Prophecy feat Joni Mitchell


Whoa: 11 great Mac apps ($368.75 worth) for $49 – can’t beat that with a stick. Heck, I’ve already spent more than $100 on a few of these over the past couple of years.


It gets better: 25% of the proceeds go to charity. Some of the software licenses won’t be released until certain quotas have been met – all that remains to be unlocked at this point is Pixelmator (I already own that one, but let’s work together and complete the set). Run, don’t walk.

Music: Bob Dylan :: Love Minus Zero-No Limit

Laptop. With Leopard.

Miles Laptop Came home from work tonight and Miles had something to show me. “I made a laptop!” I thought he was joking. Then I saw it. By gum, he did make a laptop. With number keys going right on up to 20. And no spacebar. But a laptop, nonetheless. And then it dawned on me… but I had to ask, to be sure. “Miles, does your laptop just have a picture of a leopard on screen, or is it running Leopard?” “It’s running Leopard!” Dang. Complete with a mouse. And a mousepad. A mousepad named Ziggy.

The other new addition to our house tonight — a hand-made picket sign with giant letters: “THE END OF THE WORLD!” This because the other day he whined that it was the end of the world when I told him he had to stop work on the beach hut he was building in a friend’s back yard. I told him he ought to make a sign saying that, so he could march it around downtown. So he did.

See also: The Laptop Club (8-year-olds draw their dream computers).

Music: The Fall :: Bingo Master

Gutting a Display

Sdisplay-Repair5 Amy uses a 17″ Studio Display attached to a Mac Mini. Recently she found the top half of her screen going dim (pretty much unusable for photography work), and the power light flashing in a two-short, one-long pattern. Goog took me to a page on the Studio Display Backlight Problem. Looks we had a dying power inverter, right from the textbook. Ordered a replacement from MoniServ, which arrived a few days later.

After dinner tonight, Miles and I dove into the repair (he got to work the allan wrenches and screwdriver, and to unplug/re-plug the connectors). “This could go one of two ways: Either it’ll work perfectly and Mommy will consider us both heroes, or will fail miserably and we’ll get an earful about how nothing in this world has lasting value anymore.” Took our time with it, and the whole process turned out to be very easy – done in half an hour.

Monitor’s like new again. We’re heroes!

Music: Brian Eno :: Sky Saw

Waffle Picker

Wafflepicker I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out Pixelmator – lets me do pretty much everything I’d otherwise do in Photoshop, but with almost no launch time or bloat (the new background gradient on this site was created in Pixelmator). But one thing missing from Pixelmator that I need frequently is the ability to extract the hex value from colors for use in CSS.

Hopefully that ability will be added soon, but while looking around for a solution, came across Waffle’s Hex Color Picker. There are a ton of little hex utils for the Mac, of course, but what’s cool about this one is that it modifies the Mac’s native color picker, adding another pane to deliver the hex value for the current color. Install this little gem and you get hex values available from any Mac app that supports color choosing in any way. Muy elegante.

Tivo Transfers

Part of the fun of exploring the brave new world of HDTV and Series 3 TiVo is figuring out how to get Tivo-recorded shows onto the Mac and preserved on DVD, and to go the other way around, from the Mac to the TiVo (i.e. watching BitTorrent movies in the living room). None of this is built in, exactly, or well-documented. But it’s do-able.

For the First Case, I’ve used TiVo Desktop, which only comes bundled with Toast Titanium 8 (grrr — if you’re going to bundle a network connection on a device, then software to make it work should be included free), then burned to DVD with the awesome VisualHub.

I haven’t yet mastered the art of the Second Case, going from the Mac to the TiVo. Michael Alderete, who was a communications ace at Be back in the day, has written an excellent guide covering the process soup-to-nuts. We hooked up on the topic through a post in the VisualHub forums, and I wound up throwing in a few edits to his doc.

This document describes set-up and processes for downloading videos from the Internet using BitTorrent or other mechanisms, and then transferring them to a TiVo Series 3 high-definition (HD) recorder, for playback on a high-definition TV (HDTV).

Ironically, I haven’t yet gotten the Mac –> TiVo connection working yet myself; TiVo says my “brain” (that’s this Mac’s hostname) is empty. I suspect a firewall issue. Alderete’s directions assume Tiger, not Leopard. The problem is that in Leopard you need to manually poke a firewall hole for the apps you want to be able to communicate with the rest of the world — but Tivo Transfer is a preference pane, not an app, so there’s no clear way to add it (adding the preference pane module to the list of apps hasn’t unblocked the pipes).

Will get this licked eventually. And keep burning DVDs when necessary until then.

Music: Henry Kaiser :: It Happened One Night

Leopard Curiosities

Using Leopard for a couple of weeks now – a few more scattered impressions here. Haven’t had time to explore all the nooks and crannies. I spend 95% of my time in, TextMate, and FireFox/Safari. Haven’t even launched Time Machine – need to clear a partition on the NAS, and even then, not sure TM is the way to go – we’re pretty happy with SuperDuper for backup, and its images are bootable/restorable, which is something I wouldn’t be eager to give up.

No accident that the Ars review spends the first few pages on UI annoyances. Nice finally to have the look and feel consistent across all apps, but the semi-transparent menu bar is a UI disaster if you use a background with mottled textures, like “stones.” Knew it wouldn’t be long before some kind of hack came out to restore the opacity. Leo ColorBar to the rescue – not only gets rid of transparency, but also lets you tint the menu any color, which I’m liking:


Ditto for the Dock: I never asked for a mirror. And replacing black “running app” triangles with little glow lights? Cute, but I was tired of them in a couple of days. All gratuitous eye candy. TigerDock lets you return the Dock to something closely resembling… the Tiger Dock. Dock Delight gets your triangles back.

The one thing I thought I missed the most from BeOS days was having multiple workspaces – I used to keep email and browser on one virtual desktop, photo and video apps in another, etc. Spaces was the single Leopard feature I was looking forward to the most. Somehow, in BeOS, the workspaces concept just worked. The first thing I noticed about Leopard’s Spaces was that, unlike in BeOS, there’s no way to assign different wallpaper or background colors to different desktops – they all look the same. Important visual cue, missing. And BeOS also let you run workspaces at different resolutions, which was a great way to test web designs. Not in Leopard.

But I soon realized that somehow, in the intervening years, the perceived need for multiple workspaces had gone away. Between Expose’, the Dock, Cmd-Tab, utils like QuickSilver, and showing/hiding apps, the Mac offers so many ways to switch apps effectively while keeping the desktop clean that the need was effectively gone. After using them for a few days, I realized that all Spaces was getting me was an additional animation when switching apps. I turned Spaces off.

Guess I’m giving the impression of not liking Leopard – but that’s not true. Just getting the annoyances out of the way. Lots to say (mostly good) about changes to, iCal, and other features… will save those for another day.

Music: Trifactor :: Sequence Of Our Hearts

Data Detector


Diving into Leopard over the past few days… there’s so much to discover, lurking just below the surface. Kind of overwhelmed. After getting over initial dislike of the menu bar and Dock “improvements,” it’s going to take a while to digest all the hidden or semi-hidden functional changes. Some are obvious, others, not so much.

Tonight, came across an upcoming event in, which I wanted to add to iCal. When I went to select the relevant words, a couple lines of plain text grew a magical “more” arrow, and offered to send the event straight to iCal for me. So slick and well thought-out. This is the kind of touch that made Apple Apple. Love it.

Lots more Leopard thoughts TK.

Music: Lafayette Afro Rock Band :: Voodounon