Curiosity's Tracks Spell out "JPL" in Morse Code -
The imprints left by the treads on the wheels help the rover calculate whether or not Curiosity has traveled its expected distance. How many JPLs in a mile?
Facebook On iOS Goes Native -
The switch from HTML5 to a native app is definitely showing improved performance and now allows the app to tap into other features in iOS’ SDK. I’m still impressed with the architecture of developing a web app within a native frame like they did in the previous version (especially useful for updating apps across browsers/platforms with less effort). Users don’t have to update the app as often (pushes can be made server-side without the need for Apple’s app approval process). They’ve also added a few “fallback” methods to reduce the need to continuously update the app when new features/changes are required. But this update is definitely much more advantageous for Facebook’s mobile users.
Thanks Nintendo Power -
Nintendo Power was the first magazine publication I ever subscribed to. Back when I was young, and Nintendo was the powerhouse of gaming consoles, I would wait anxiously each month to read about new and upcoming games (and additional hints and cheats for games I already owned) for my N64 and Game Boy. This was my bible. I would bring it to school, daycare, everywhere. Thanks for the last 24 years.
Changes coming in Version 1.1 of the Twitter API -
Changes will include:
- required authentication on every API endpoint
- a new per-endpoint rate-limiting methodology
- changes to our Developer Rules of the Road, especially around applications that are traditional Twitter clients.
Twitter is full-steam ahead on regulating its API requirements to prevent malicious use. Will be really interesting to see how new and existing products/services deal with stricter guidelines, and what happens when they reach critical mass and max rate-limits.
About 2 weeks ago, Betaworks announced they were acquiring Digg for about $500k. Let that sink in for a bit. A company that has taken in about $45M in funding (CrunchBase), who has turned down acquisition offers from giants like Yahoo and Google, sold for what many startups aim to raise in an angel/friends & family round. John Borthwick and company have an audacious vision to turn Digg around.
Digg was messy. It was losing traction, getting spammed, and users were flocking to other properties like Reddit and Canvas. New services like Percolate were started to deliver popular news stories. Using resources from News.me, the team of 10 rewrote Digg from the ground up. They wiped the existing codebase, including algorithms that determined Digg scores and indexing. They built the service to fit in and run with the current and next generation of web services. What ended up happening was something completely ambitious. They launched in 6 weeks.
6 weeks! If you’ve worked at a startup, you’ll know that 6 weeks to build and launch a site that has an existing user base in the millions is rough. We try to push out a few new features and updates every week or two, but when we decided to rewrite our site from the ground up, it took us much longer than 6 weeks, granted the scope, scale, and complexity of Digg and any other site is variable. So a huge pat on the back for the team at Digg, because what they did in that short amount of time is tremendous.
Along the way, the team posted an update on their progress. They were nuking a lot of features, and focusing the product newswire-type content like Top Stories, Popular, and Upcoming. They were making product decisions for launch that many have begun complaining about like the absence of a commenting system. What people don’t understand is that these were decisions FOR LAUNCH. The team doesn’t want to put out crappy features that might be prone to errors and abuse. They’ll have commenting and better social features, but they’ll be available once the team feels like they’re ready to be used. If there’s one thing Digg is stressing, it’s that they’re a new service and any and all feedback on existing and future features will be taken into consideration. This is only version 1, and I’m sure they’ve got plenty of things in the pipeline for future updates.
The new site is extremely simplistic and lightweight. The team is determined. Mistakes and innovations will be made, but remember that this won’t be the same Digg that we all once knew. Good luck, there are a lot of us cheering you on.
The Opening Ceremonies are happening now, live in London. The problem? NBC is forcing those in the US to wait until primetime, 7:30PM and watch it as a pre-recorded event. The Olympics this year will have a huge presence on social media. Twitter has a dedicated page for #Olympics where content is being curated by people like Hope Solo, Michael Phelps, and LeBron James. Everyone who is able to watch/participate in the event is tweeting and posting on Twitter and Facebook in real-time (see LeBron’s tweet), and those of us in the US who can’t, are left in the dark.
Kobe 1 & Kobe 2 #LOL instagr.am/p/NmahKiCTFV/— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 27, 2012
Retweet if you’re disappointed NBC won’t show the #London2012 Opening Ceremony live in #USA— Craig Kanalley (@ckanal) July 27, 2012
Excited to watch the Olympics live on NBC next year #yutz’s— howardlindzon (@howardlindzon) July 27, 2012
Check out this exclusive, limited time sneak peek of tonight’s #OpeningCeremony! More to come! youtube.com/watch?feature=…— NBCOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 27, 2012
Meanwhile, NBC is tweeting spoilers and now I know that the Queen and James Bond are in the show. Hopefully NBC will realize this was one huge missed opportunity. And judging by the complaints on the Internet, they just might reconsider airing the closing ceremonies live, or at least offer a livestream.
Twitter Shuts Off “Find Friends” Feature For Instagram -
There’s a difference between the audience I follow on Twitter and the audience I follow on Facebook. I prefer following industry-specific people on Twitter (those who, like me, are in technology, startups, design, ux, etc…). And of those Twitter users, there are plenty that I would like to follow on Instagram. Instagram just announced that they’ve reached 80 million users and have shared 4 billion photos. But now, it looks like Twitter is limiting API use to those with userbases under x million. They’ve already cut off LinkedIn, now Instagram, and who knows what company is next?
So for now, if you’re looking to follow your Twitter friends on Instagram, you’ll need to either search for them manually in Instagram using the “Explore” tab (but there are problems with username consistency) or click on the Instagram link when your friend shares the image, click on the user name, and press the “Follow” button.
Is it necessary to hide the status bar? Does a 20px bar make the difference in your experience? Lately, I’ve been wondering whether or not designers and developers consider showing or hiding the status bar in their apps for usability or just for the sake of saying that they have a “fullscreen” app. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that 20px of screen real estate is extremely important. It’s hard enough to be constrained to the display requirements on mobile, let alone thinking about a bar that tells you about signal strength, time, and battery power.
There are cases where it makes some sense to hide the bar, even though it’s not in the best interest of the user. Most games hide the bar, for what I assume is an effort to block the time and the battery indicator so you have no idea how long you’ve been playing, and when you need to start conserving battery. The case can also be made that displaying the status bar can ruin the entire aesthetic of your experience.
It makes sense to hide the bar when watching a fullscreen video. But the Youtube app does a great job of displaying it when you tap on the screen to display the controls.
Sometimes, you just need to reference information. When you’re on a FaceTime call, the only way to see what time it is or how much battery life you have left is to pull down the notification center, completely covering up the main experience of your video chat. FaceTime calls are a huge battery drain, so being able to see how much juice you have left seems to be pretty important, especially if you’re not able to charge your device soon.
Now that the Macbook Pro with Retina is out, high-density displays are now available on 3 types of Apple devices: handheld (iPod/iPhone), tablet, and laptop. As high-res devices pervade throughout the industry, it’ll be much more necessary to update websites to accomodate for both standard and retina displays. Retina.js is a simple script that checks to see if you have images on your server at 2x resolution (rename retina filename using the @2x format “firstname.lastname@example.org”) and displays them if the device is high-density.
There are several reasons and methods to design images for retina. This blog only has 1 image in the banner so I took the simple approach and made an image at 2x and defined the width and height in the markup at 50%. This is definitely not the best practice, but it is by far the simplest when dealing with a few images. The trick to this is to make sure the width and height dimensions at 2x can be divisible by 2. For example, I would design the image as 500px x 200px and set the markup as:
<img src=”http://example.png” width=”250” height=”100”>
If you’ve got some time to spare, retina-fy your site. It only took me a few minutes to design the 2x image and edit the markup.