Monday, August 31, 2009

So I'm all over the site today...

Today seems to be Darwin Grosse day on the ol' Cycling '74 site. In addition to (still) being at the top of the front page articles list, Lilli has posted my Jitter Sketching tutorial.

This is a story that I'm pretty serious about, since I want to do more with text-based language constructs, and not all systems have useful text editors. Hence, we roll our own into a nice little OpenGL sandbox. Since more and more of my Jitter work includes interfaces with the Real World, this shows a decent way of providing messagebox-like replaceable parameters with a sensible text-editing environment. Much fun.

This is a total Max-Geek post, but I hope you can enjoy it no matter where you come from...


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just what I needed...

I spent most of last week in San Francisco, working with Andrew Pask on a bunch of secret sauce for an upcoming Max-based product. I couldn't stand the idea of staying in a hotel anymore this summer, so I begged and weaseled my way into staying with co-worker Lilli in Castro Valley. It's a bit of a drive, and I was blazing in early every day to have Andrew lay some clarinet tracks for a production gig I'm doing.

I was leaving every day at 6:30 am. Anyone that knows me will tell you that it is more likely that I'd still be awake at 6:30 than it is for me to be waking up then. Nevertheless, I made the daily trek into the city, braved my way across the Bay Bridge and set up shop at the office for the duration.

If you know where the Cycling office is in San Francisco, you'll also know that it isn't the center of the universe for lively early-morning eats. The office has a coffee/espresso machine, but you know how that goes (coffee that is made for you always taste 10x better than coffee you make for yourself). Luckily, the co-workers clued me into a hole-in-the-wall kiosk for Blue Bottle Coffee at 315 Linden - a half-block away.

Man, was it sweet.

It's basically a garage door that opens to the street, and it features all of the charm of a recycling center. But the staff was extraordinarily friendly, and the drinks they made were perfection. They obviously know what they are doing, and are rewarded with a steady stream of thankful and happy customers.

If you ever find yourself on Linden between 8th and 9th - and I really don't know why in the world you might - you should stop, enjoy one of the best Au Lait's on the planet, and give them your business.

I suspect they'll own the whole block within a year.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

App Store Bloat Monkeys - Part II

Somehow, deep within my secret lair, I had not received word that my favorite App Store Bloat Monkeys (iLike) were bought by MySpace. I am so pleased with this. First of all, it means that they will be dropping turd applications on the Apple App Store by the millions, giving each user of MySpace a chance to irritate Apple into putting forward a more diabolical App Approval process.

But most of all, it teams up two very strong players in the Horribly Eye-Piercing User Interface business. iLike seems to go out of its way to create crap that offends the senses, but they are rank amateurs compared to the MySpace crew; these folks seem to be able to make a graphic UI that only blind people could love. MySpace pages don't really load up on my Mac (I think that the MacBook is attempting to be thoughtful in doing this), so I have to use the Windows box whenever I have to check out some nobody band that dropped me an email.

Designed by aliens to be used by the tasteless.

Ah well, enough of that. Back to coding...


Monday, August 3, 2009

App Store Bloat Monkeys

So, I'm about to send off the SpaceBox app to the Apple Folks, and took a tour through the App Store Music area. It appears the app bot monkeys are alive and at work: the efforts of our friends at iLike inc. They've found some way to snooker money out of artists by making churning out fake "Official Artist" apps that just put up a picture of the artist then overlays it with some junk buttons. Check out this attractive screen shot for "Antje Duvekot" (... yeah, me either ...) as an example:

Um, if I'm really that into Antje, I'd really like to see her face, you know? It's clear that either a sub- or a non-human is churning these things out - they are totally bloating the Music section of the app store - and are notable for all having the same description copy ("This is the official XYZ app for the iPhone or iPod Touch. This app is a must-have for XYZ fans and concert-goers. It helps you keep up with XYZ while you're on the go..."). It also helpfully points out that each of its hundreds of artists are Rated 12+ for:

- Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes,
- Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes,
- Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor, and
- Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco or Drug Use

Shame, shame, Ms. Duvekot (et. al.).