Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MobileMe, the experience so far.

Most of you should know what MobileMe is, the slick update to .Mac (if you don't hit the link for the site). I have never used a paid-for web service for my email so Apple have done a good job at luring me in :) As well as a new email (the first since 2004), I have 20GB of storage that will host my under construction website for my published applications as well as photos. Another reason is that my contacts, email and calendars are synced with my Mac, iPhone and webmail. This is my experience so far!

Since the start I have been using the web interface for email instead of because it just looks so darn nice! Unfortunately the looks don't always match the usage which since the start has been rocky. Everything syncs between the devices without trouble but up until recently I could not access my contacts from the new message view which was annoying but this feature was worth the wait as it's very slick. I dont have the fastest internet and I have a feeling MobileMe is resetting before the operation is taking so long to complete, resulting in lost image uploads and emails. On a good day everything appears to be running smoothly but each day it's getting that much faster which is good!

Among the standard sync options is dock, dashboard and notes. I havent had a chance to try these out (only have one mac) but I'm hoping that the iPhone 2.1 update brings the functionality to sync notes from the my iPhone to the MobileMe cloud. This is quite short but over the coming months I will reveal more of my thoughts as at this point it's unfair to gauge something that is not working properly but the future is very bright!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hello Optus and welcome to iPhone 3G

Today could have been seen as an eventful one, a little not so well known phone from a small fruit company was released today with little fanfare. Some stood outside for a number of hours in the cold and most of them got what they were after, but some of us actually have jobs to go to so all I could do was phone the carriers to see who would give me my iPhone.

I tried telstra first but because they were late join the game, they don't get their quota of iPhones till the 22nd. I was then informed that almost every single one has been taken by orders. I didn't even try Vodafone because of the well known fact that they stuffed up the launch something shocking and their plans are a joke. Next stop was optus who were more than grateful to sell me a black 16gb iPhone over the phone on one of their cap plans, but with a catch. My order is secured but unfortunately I don't take delivery until the 25th which sucks. So I have an iPhone but I don't actually have one in my hand. I work for an Apple store so the demo phone that Vodafone could supply was available for a play all day and here are my thoughts:

The design is very sophisticated and elegant.
The website photos do not do it justice.
It feels very solid and well built.
It's not as big as you think
The new metal buttons and silent toggle switch are high quality and feel very solid to use.
The vibrate mode feels very nice.
The black back smudges very easily!
Photo geotagging is cool.

I only got a little chance to play with the phone so I will provide a better overview when I get mine in a couple of days. One good thing about not being distracted by the gorgeous little phone is that I can continue to code my new iPhone applications with the SDK. So keep an eye on what's coming soon :)

Its cool to have an iPhone, it really sucks that I can't actually use it...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Icons for Fern & Waterpoint

At the moment I'm working down in Perth for an Apple service centre called Digilife, I get to work on just about every mac available (except for models referred to as vintage) which is pretty cool. I will also be in the thick of it when the iPhone 3G finally launches here in Australia on July 11th, I'm counting down the days till I get my Black 16GB model with either Vodafone or Telstra. Now that the update is out of the way, I have been distracted from coding but have been working on a couple of graphics projects, including some icons and my new website.

One icon I have been working is the new one for Fern, 0.2 users will have noted that it uses the default operating system icon for an application. Fern 0.2.5 will rock a new text edit inspired icon that features materials and colours that related to the brand new interface. The icon is based on the two sheets of paper used by text edit but the similarities end there with a piece of wood as the backing sheet and a nice glossy front with stylish colours.

True Apple enthusiasts will notice the colour scheme is quite common for the company with the Apple TV 2, Mac OS X Leopard and the new Coldplay iTunes + iPod TV ad. The application is designed to be a consumer product so if they feel comfortable with the themes and stylings used by Apple, they will automatically feel comfortable with applications that use similar stylings. Unfortunately it's very possible that I will change the icon a little with each release until I think it's the best it can be :).

I have also been working on the Mac version of my first Windows application, Waterpoint, which is set to be finished within a few short weeks. A quick refresh of Waterpoint; is a Core Data powered application for rural users that enables them to quickly manage properties, paddocks and watering points. Tracking status and service updates of each individual item. The icon for this little app is finished and ready for the prime time. As the Windows users will notice it's the same design as the win version but with a different colour scheme, in fact it was one of the draft designs that ultimatly became the blue orb with the silver droplet. I redid this design (it was only 128x128) for Mac OS X 10.5 512x512 goodness, following the new colored gradient design featured in the Fern icon. I think it came out ok and has a rather impressive presence when sitting in the dock, the black stands out of the coloured crowd. The non consumer design is supposed to show a sense of power and profession ability without taking way the ease of use and design common with all top level mac applications.

Waterpoint uses a new interface that is similar to Coda and system preferences, as a test for use in some other higher priority projects. Stay tuned for more updates on Waterpoint 1.0, which will be a full release containing everything a 1.0 application should have. The next couple of weeks will be busy and tiring but thats justs part of the game :)