Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for March, 2012

Woah, Slow Down There, RIM

Alec Saunders, VP of developer relations for RIM (emphasis mine):

“It’s a huge step forward on our path to eventually launching BB10,” Saunders said. “It’s tangible evidence of the company making progress to finally shipping the device.”

They’re shipping prototypes in May.

Former Engineer Says New Apple TV UI Was Rejected 5 Years Ago

From his tweet:

Fun fact – those new designs were tossed out 5 years ago because SJ didn’t like them. Now there is nobody to say “no” to bad design.

Since this is the third iteration of the Apple TV user interface (fourth if you count Front Row), I’d say those first interfaces also weren’t great. Poor design escaped from Apple when Steve was there, too (take a look at the Game Centre UI, for starters).

Furthermore, Michael Margolis clarified his comments in another tweet:

Sadly there isn’t enough context in 140 characters. SJ didn’t like the old grid, but may have loved this new iOS style.

An Apple TV interface that was grid-based was tested at Apple five years ago, and Jobs didn’t like it then. The product that was being produced was wholly different to today’s Apple TV, too. This is a non-story.

Why Magicians Are a Scientist’s Best Friend

The always-wonderful James Randi:

We are not scientists — with a few rare but important exceptions, like Ray Hyman and Richard Wiseman. But our highly specific expertise comes from knowledge of the ways in which our audiences can be led to quite false conclusions by calculated means — psychological, physical and especially sensory, visual being rather paramount since it has such a range of variety.

Farewell, Race City

Dave Lawrence reflects on the closure of Calgary’s only motorsport venue:

We walked into the facility to find nothing left. The place is turning unrecognizable. The front straight where I used to shoot people coming out of the carousel is a stretch of dirt.

Stunning photos of an empty track that was roaring with Maranello-made V12s just a year ago.

Sad Trombone

Brian X. Chen:

RIM, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, has been dethroned from its position as the No. 1 smartphone brand in Canada, trailing Apple’s iPhone, Bloomberg reports. It shipped 2.08 million BlackBerrys last year in Canada, while Apple sold 2.85 million iPhones there, according to data compiled by IDC and Bloomberg.

Who’s surprised?


When setting up a new device from an old, encrypted backup (therefore containing network settings), the new device will be unable to connect to some WiFi networks.

Found what I think is the root cause of these WiFi issues. Feel free to dupe this radar if you’re able to reproduce.

So, Your New iPad Won’t Connect to WiFi…

Reset network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Note: This will reset all network settings, including passwords, VPN, and APN settings.

I believe there’s a weird restore-from-backup bug that affects network settings on replacement devices. My new iPad was having difficulty connecting to the WiFi network at my college, and this solved it.

WebKit Limit on Image Display

Above a certain size, Safari on iPad decides to resample and scale images. I’m pretty sure this behaviour has existed for all iPad versions, but it’s much more noticeable on the new one’s retina display. Duncan Davidson does some incredible detective work to find the culprit.

On Retina iPads and File Size

Khoi Vinh:

Eventually we will get enough bandwidth so that we can download the 150 megabytes or more that these apps ask us to retrieve. Though what I fear is that when we have that capacity, publishers will be asking us to download gigabytes per issue; this is after all an industry that cannot resist imposing greater and greater demands on its users in order to impress itself.

It’s an incredibly self-serving, selfish standpoint by publishers, with a flagrant disregard for what their readers actually care about: content, above all else.


PC World lists three “controversies” about the new iPad, presumably because they’re desperate for ad impressions. Heatgate? Stupid. Videogate? It doesn’t even make sense:

The problem, the Journal says, is that LTE connections tend to use more data than 3G usage even when delivering the same information


The only legitimate concern is related to WiFi reception, which has been noted by actual users and probably affects a tiny portion of the total number of iPads shipped.

We Are the 5 Percent

Oliver Strand:

Though you can’t tell from the photos, White is also documenting the decline and fall of the so-called New York shot, a dense, syrupy style of espresso that took hold a few years ago. It’s what you get when you updose (by packing the filter basket with enough coffee for two to three shots) and pull the espresso short (by using a fine grind and stopping the water before one full ounce drips into the cup). The shots are brutes.

This style of espresso spread to Calgary a few years ago. It’s still prevalent amongst a few of the quirkier cafés here, but most are pulling lighter, fruitier, and more herbal shots. This is partly due to the roast—a number of local stores have lightened their beans significantly—but also because shots are getting pulled longer. They taste amazing.

Times Changes Policy on Visits to Web Site

One year after The New York Times Company introduced a pay wall on the Web site of its flagship newspaper, the company said Tuesday it would now require visitors to the site to pay for access after reading 10 free articles, down from the threshold of 20 that was established when the system was initiated.

No matter how fantastic the coverage of The New York Times is, it’s hard to justify the cost of a subscription when they’re serving ads like these. Gutsy move, too.

It Must Be a Samsung

There’s a dark chrome rail around the screen that bends around to the top rear of the phone in a way so similar to BlackBerry Bold 9790 that I half-expected to see “Research in Motion” stamped inside the battery door.

Consumer Reports Sensationalism

Our test finds new iPad hits 116 degrees while running games

Oh fuck, 116 degrees? That sounds blazingly h…

it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.

Oh. Never mind then. Or as Marco Arment put it:

Any reasonably competent, well-intentioned writer or editor would assume that most people reading this would think the new iPad gets hot, implying severe discomfort and a significant flaw that will affect nearly everyone who uses it, rather than merely warm, which would imply an occasional minor inconvenience for the few people who might notice and care.

As someone who has a new iPad, I can assure you, dear reader, that the increase in surface temperature is so unnoticeable I had to double-check I wasn’t using my iPad 2 to read these articles. Actually, I didn’t have to check, because OMFG RETINA DISPLAY.

From the Obvious Chronicles

Following up on reports from earlier today that the outer shell of the iPad 3 gets warmer than the iPad 2, Consumer Reports found that their iPad 3 reached temperatures up to 116 degrees after running Infinity Blade II for 45 minutes.

Running a higher-definition-than-high-definition game for 45 minutes causes a device to heat up? You don’t say.

Welcome to the Post PC Era

Jeff Atwood:

In 1975, Gates and Allen form a partnership called Microsoft. Like most startups, Microsoft begins small, but has a huge vision – a computer on every desktop and in every home.

The existential crisis facing Microsoft is that they achieved their mission years ago, at least as far as the developed world is concerned. When was the last time you saw a desktop or a home without a computer?

One More Thing 2012

This looks like a totally awesome conference in Australia that I won’t be able to attend. Speakers this year include Neven Mrgan, Sebastiaan de With, Shaun Inman, and Loren Brichter.