Today Apple released version 10.7 of their incredible operating system and I admit, I hesitated… for about two seconds. I have been quite satisfied with how my system is currently set up, with Snow Leopard and Firefox and Mail and all my creative apps behaving as I expect them to. I use Hand Gestures heavily when interacting with my 1 year old Macbook Pro, and make regular use of OSX extras like Dashboard, Exposé and though my second display cancels the need for it, sometimes even Spaces. I know what my marvelous little machine is gonna do when I flip my fingers — one, two, three and four — up, down, left and right. What can I say, I do enjoy pinch zooming and twisting through as many processes as I can. Since I purchased this computer almost a year ago, I have become good friends with Snow Leopard.
But Apple doesn’t believe in long-term relationships with any of it’s big cats, and so today I willingly said goodbye to a good thing, in the interest of getting something even better. Is that greed? Pretty much. But $30 for over 250 new features sounds like an indulgence I can easily rationalize. Click, click, credit card here, agree here, here and here. Wait… Wait… Bingo!
ROAARRRRR!!! (it didn’t roar when it finished installing, but I wish it had)
My comfortably up-to-date hardware is now humming along with 10.7 at the helm, and I don’t know where to start.
So I just started with the basics. The interface. The toys. The bells and whistles.
After reading up in anticipation, I have now verified that my carefully mastered system of gestures, the precise flips and spins that make me feel special, is thoroughly out of sorts. Scrolling a page up is the new scroll down. Swiping right or left with three fingers sends my screen racing away, followed closely behind by a fresh screen, like a slide projector. I can’t swipe all windows away like I used to.
I can’t swipe Firefox pages backward and forward like I used to. These are the typical growing pains of a significant OS revamp, and I scrutinize every one, as if I’m lecturing User Interface at MIT.
One last (first) impression, while I’m on the complain train: this App Store business is easy as pie, but it doesn’t sit well with me. I know the future is not in removable media, but I would still feel a lot better about the purchase if I had a shiny new disk in my hands.
But then again, 30 bucks.
All in all, despite throwing more than a few curve balls at my carefully honed interface, I am not thoroughly displeased.
Would I say that I’m pleased? Not quite.
But the new Mail app has been redesigned to organize correspondences in conversation format. That’s kinda pleasing. Also I like the instant spell checking and turbocharged search.
Gestures now encourages me to make better use of Spaces, which may be for my own good. And it accesses Dashboard better, which I like.
But what about my beloved back and forward navigation in Firefox? Fail!
And I’m sorry, but what the eff is up with Launchpad?? Reminds me of a terrible decision they once made way back in… like… OS 8? Remember Launcher on your 33mhz Performa 460? Yeah Fail!
Finally, my last bugaboo has to do with this “revolutionary” new thing called Full Screen Apps. I loved the idea in theory, and I’ll probably love it when they release a future update, but right now it doesn’t know what the heck to do with my second display! I click the icon and everything gets consolidated to my laptop screen, whether I like it or not. Fail!
So to sum up my first day with Lion, it has not been love at first swipe.
But I haven’t dug into half the new features yet. FaceTime sounds sweet (for iPhone, iTouch, Lion users at least).
And I give 10.7 the beta leeway that it deserves. It’s the future of Mac, whether we like it or not, and I’m sure Apple (or the tenacious open source community) will fix the things that irritate me the most about it. Maybe by that time I’ll have less to complain about. I’m sure I’ll think of something.
So here I am, in the throws of transitioning my social media presence to the hip new Google+, when all of a sudden I discover something SO WICKED AWESOME that I can’t keep myself away from Facebook! What could this fantastic new digital delight be that draws me back into the Zuckerberg Totalitarian Universe? I’ll give you a hint: it ain’t no hastily deployed Facebook feature. A third-party app? Hardly.
It’s called Turntable.fm; a new website being beta tested to offer select Facebook users a place to play and listen to new music with people. Sounds simple enough?
More like too good to be true.
The interface is refreshingly austere; no pages and links and doodads; and (as of yet) NO ADVERTISEMENTS.
Go to the website and you are asked to setup a very basic profile, with authentication being handled on the Facebook side of things. You can choose a new name, you can write a little bio, and you can choose from a few basic avatars to represent yourself in cartoon form. Then just pick a room to visit, based on your musical tastes (or if you don’t find one you like, you can easily start one of your own).
Once inside, you join other users in a virtual concert scenario. There’s a place to chat about the music being played and a simple lame or awesome rating system at the bottom of the screen. When you inevitably hear something amaaaazing, you can choose to buy or save it through a host of third party websites (iTunes, Amazon, Last.fm, etc) or just save the track name to your “DJ Queue.” AND possibly the best part– turntable.fm also allows you to put your DJ hat on (cocked backwards or at any angle other than straight) and rock the house with your own tracks! Turntable.fm keeps an ever-increasing music library for you to search, or upload a track from your own computer. Easy peasie!
Ok, I’ll lay off the caps and exclamation points and heavy breathing, and try to compose myself.
What is so magical about this Turntable.fm is how easy and raw and un-commercialized it is. Left as is, this site is sure to take a huge chunk of traffic away from major internet radio sites like Pandora and Last.fm, as it allows users to share and discover music in a familiar chat room environment, without all those pesky commercials. This last part, the no commercials part, is sure to change as soon as news of this lovely young site flashes through the byzantine conduits of social media. They may want to develop a pay option to put a price on ad-free use.
Another major issue is the obvious copyright infringement issues that are presented by people uploading their own tracks to a server for everyone to listen to. This will also require an immense server infrastructure to support.
So I don’t know… It’s the best thing since sliced beats right now, but we shall see how long the party lasts.
Ok, Google+ has been made available to a select few for about a week now, and I am still just chafing at the bit to get in on the party. Won’t someone please invite me!?
I am an avid Facebook user who, like most web users in recent years, has gone about integrating most of my social life into this revolutionary (and totalitarian) social networking service. Like most people, it allows me to keep tabs on, and maintain daily familiarity with friends and family, regardless of geographical proximity. But recently I have become more and more disillusioned by the deliberate lack of privacy controls included with the service. Facebook likes to say how they give users control over what they share, but after combing through the privacy controls they do offer, I have resolved that if I want to participate on the site (through comments and likes) I either need to individually block each user I don’t want to see my activity, or get used to the fact that one way or another, most of what I say and do will be reported to everyone in my friend list. Facebook says, if I don’t like it, don’t use their service.
As I have been posting in forums earlier this week, I am very eager to start exploring the Facebook alternative Google has proposed.
Google+ touts increased control over what information is shared, through the use of different social circles. I think this is a step in the right direction for social networking, as it gives the users greater control over their presence.
Facebook gives the user privacy options that allow her to think she is in control of what personal information is being distributed, all the while voraciously reporting activity through an algorithm-driven function called News Feed. Facebook used to allow users to control this feature, but then removed this option in a revision of the interface. Although Facebook is a highly effective service that allows people to connect like never before, it is News Feed that makes it truly addictive.
If Google+ intends to give its users full control over what information is shared across the network, it will be interesting to see if it can compete with Facebook’s ability to turn curious users into voyeuristic junkies.
From what I’ve gathered so far, Google might have bigger fish to fry with its new social networking service. As this article in PC World details, instead of relying primarily on the the quick-sell of products to its users through custom tailored ads (like Facebook does), Google seems more interested in the greater potential of integrating Google+ into its wildly successful search engine, with its already tried and true business models.
Although I took my fair share of web development classes at university, I have to say, the majority of web skills I’ve retained have come from the wealth of free tutorials out there on the web. There is endless information available for those who have a will to learn!
In my continued quest for educatión gratis, one of the best discoveries I made in 2010 was http://css-tricks.com and other helpful websites of Chris Coyier. My favorite is the wealth of video screencasts Mr Coyier generously offers to his audience, that carefully walk us through many necessary processes that designers must know in order meet current web standards. Offering everything from Converting A Photoshop Mockup, to Ajaxing A WordPress Theme, I definitely recommend his videos for all the ambitious self-learners out there. Thanks Chris!!
I’m finally getting the major compatibility kinks worked out and ready to go live with this site!
That is to say, I’m ready to start telling people about everinflux.com.
I’m digging all the support and plug-in features that WordPress has to offer.
Smashing the template into a dynamic mosaic that suits my needs has actually been a fun and interesting.
I tend to just dive right in and start
reverse-engineering code to see how it ticks.
Sort of like a murder mystery, a forensic puzzle. Except instead of watching Angela Lansbury nose herself around dangerous situations, I stare at a screen until my vision
blurs, and try to make sense of someone else’s byzantine nomenclature.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but hopefully Santa will bring me a helpful reference book.
Well hey there,
and look where you found yourself!
I've been shifting this site away from a professional freelance and career homebase because a): I'm not currently freelancing, and b): that's what Linkedin is for.
But everinflux is my little stamp on the internet- a venue and dream I'm not done with yet.
Thanks for visiting and take care.