Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

Recent pages from the journal

2 July 2007

Pinch Me, Squeeze Me: The iPhone Post

iphone.jpg With many, many other lunatics, I found myself sitting on a mall floor, hunched over my laptop getting some work done on Friday afternoon while waiting for the Apple employees to start clapping, cheering and taking our money in exchange for an iPhone.

This experience was really fun. Apple did nothing short of a fabulous job with the launch. Every hour or so they would come down the line offering bottled water and/or hot coffee (Starbucks, fyi. Could be worse.). Once 6pm rolled around, there was much rejoicing, especially by Apple employees (there were nearly 75 of them), handing out high-fives to anybody who would take them. If anything they were too giddy. Once I got into the store, I was directed around to one of many iPhone stations where people with handheld checkout devices were swiping cards and handing over iPhones (they email you the receipt). It was really slick.

After I took it home, I plugged it into iTunes and went through the activation process. I think it’s brilliant that Apple didn’t do activation at the store. It’s such a waste of time to sit there and pick out your cell plan, billing and all that stuff at the store. Other companies could learn a lot from this process. iTunes of course is becoming a silly name for this application, but I’m not going to complain.

After the activation (took about a minute), I fired up the iPhone. It had synced over all my email settings, Safari bookmarks, address book entries, and appointments. Totally flawless.

Using the iPhone has been a lot of fun as well. There was a lot of talk about the typing as it doesn’t have a physical keyboard. I’ve heard everything from declaring it “unusable” to “it’s surprisingly easy”. I’ve done plenty of typing on it for the two days I’ve had it. Apple suggested you use your index finger for the first few days, but I skipped that and went straight to two-thumb typing. I’m coming from using the Treo quite a bit for a year now, and for a lot of that year I was a pretty heavy emailer on it, so I’m used to the hardware keys. Now that I’ve switched to the iPhone, I think it’s a piece of cake. I still mess up from time to time, but it’s not the train wreck that many predicted. It works great. And I wouldn’t dream of sacrificing all that screen real estate for a bunch of hardware buttons. It’s hard not to think of the naysayers as either whining or having some kind of agenda.

The iPhone isn’t perfect. It has some flaws that I hope get fixed in some revisions. There’s no copy/paste functionality. I’ve already wished for that a number of times. One feature that’s great about some of the apps is that if your rotate the iPhone 90°, the screen rotates with you. Unfortunately this isn’t present in every app, including Mail. I’d like to see that show up more. I’d also like some more apps, namely an RSS reader. A fancier camera would be nice, the 2 megapixel one is fine, but it would be nice to see something a little meatier. (I’ve seen people wonder how to upload pictures taken on the iPhone to Flickr - here’s a hint - just email the photo to Flickr. It’s like one and a half steps.) Lastly, I’d like iChat on there.

Honestly, I expected to be more disappointed. With all the hype, I was sure there would be something that wouldn’t live up to my expectations. It was almost as if I wanted some naggly thing to make me wish I hadn’t bought the iPhone. My only gripe isn’t with the phone at all. AT&T;coverage in some parts of my house is kinda lousy. I’m still just scratching the surface of how many really impressive things I’ve experienced so far. It’s been a lot of fun. 

28 June 2007

Nintendo pounds Sony and MS in sales 

This just brings a smile to my face. Hard Core Gamers (whatever that means) say Nintendo’s Wii shouldn’t even be considered in the same breath as the PS3 and XBox 360, but that’s really hard to do when the Wii is outselling both of them combined. Bravo to Nintendo for redefining success in a genre. (It’s worth noting that Nintendo makes money on every Wii sold, but Microsoft and Sony lose money on every console.)

28 June 2007

Why I Went Dark

CupIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted in here, hasn’t it? Well, all for good reason. I’ve been working on a very exciting and important project: I’ve been camping out at the Apple Store for three weeks now, waiting for an iPhone.

Jesting aside, I have been working on some pretty fun stuff. Mainly, I’ve been living and breathing the redesign of this here site. It will be a massive overhaul, with lots of fun things to enjoy, while simplifying things a bit. I hope you enjoy it.

So, sit tight, and keep your eyes peeled. I’m living and breathing this redesign, but it’s still a lot of work. I’ll keep you posted.

6 June 2007

Portland Trip 

mark & danI just got back from Portland. This was my first chance to really get to hang out and see the city. Very impressed I am!

25 May 2007

Coda, a few weeks later.

Coda icon

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Coda lately. Coda is Panic’s new all-in-one application for building and editing websites.

Web designers are pretty picky about their tools. When Coda came out, lots of people were critical because it didn’t have some of the features on which many of us depend daily. I absolutely understand that. Nobody wants to use a tool that is going to make you less efficient. CSSEdit, for instance, is hands-down the best CSS Editor on the market. And Textmate is a really powerful text editor with lots of bundles that save people tons of time and makes us all better programmers. It’s like the Photoshop of text editors.

But sometimes you don’t need Photoshop. Coda’s power lies in its apparent simplicity. Because Coda is an all-in-one application, I never have to switch applications when moving from editing an XHTML file, to tweaking a CSS file, previewing in the browser and then uploading said files. There’s zero mental overhead. You never leave the single Coda window.

Of course you can pull out the big guns if you want. Right click on any file in the file browser and choose “Open in Textmate” or CSSEdit or even open image files in Photoshop. Whatever you want. Handy. Coda is what brings it all together, taking a lot of the busy work out of web design.

Power Using With Coda

Lest you think Coda is actually just a simple application, I’ve been using Coda to some pretty powerful ends building a site with Expression Engine just this past week. Expression Engine gets a little flack about it’s template engine being entirely browser-based, but that is, in fact, not true. You can save any template as a file, which means Coda can get to it easily. It’s true! And then I found that awesome .htaccess trick that Derek mentioned on the Expression Engine blog. Using this, you can enjoy Coda’s live preview functionality when editing any template.

Nuggets of Joy

Sure, I could write more. There are plenty of fun and handy features I didn’t mention. And I’m sure there are a few things I haven’t discovered yet. That’s the mark of a well-designed application: It lets you get to work quickly without having to learn much, and then it slowly reveals itself to you over time, letting you discover features as you need them.

I fully understand that what Coda is doing isn’t new. Many of these features have shown up in applications in the past, but at no time have we seen it so elegantly done without all the junk clogging things up.

20 May 2007

Refresh Denver - First Meetup

Refresh Denver is having their first event this Monday. Refresh Denver is “a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of Internet developers in the Denver Metro area.”

I love this kind of stuff. I’ve long been a little gripey about how it seems like the Denver design/development scene is weak in this area. I know there are plenty of us around, yet it seems like none of us get together and hang out. I’m really hoping that Refresh takes off and I can meet and collaborate with local web folk.

The first meetup in Denver is at The Hive. We’ll have drinks and stuff there so feel free to stop by! It’s this Monday, May 21st at 5:30pm. Call me if you have any questions: 303-997-2529

Refresh is in other cities too. Check out the Refresh website to get involved in shaping the creative community near you.

17 May 2007

New Mouse, Arm in Sling

I just purchased a new mouse, the Logitech MX Revolution. It’s definitely a power user’s mouse, with lots of wheels and buttons. It goes to eleven. I had a few false starts getting it to work. Eventually I had to fire up bootcamp and pair the mouse with the receiver using Logitech’s application. I hope it’s worth it. I’ve never really had technical difficulties with a mouse before. I chalk the problem up to being that I bought it refurbished off of ebay.

So, now that the mouse works, I still cannot really use the thing. Why? Because my right arm is in a sling. I injured it in a cycling accident on my way into town on Friday. It’s not broken and yes, I was wearing my helmet (why does everyone always ask that? It was my arm!).

I’m healing fast and will have two usable arms early next week. In the meantime, I’m pursuing the challenges of typing one-handed.