Archive for Geekback

Geekback 2: Process Of Elimination

A couple of emails came in to point out that some companies actually showcase the horrid visuals that are part and parcel of using OLED displays in their new commercials.

I assume that their target market is graffiti artists, the glaucoma crowd, and the kinds of people who put spinning hubcaps on their cars. Ugh.

Geekback: Process Of Elimination

VP Of Product Design, Samsung ElectronicsLast week it was postulated in These Very Pages that Apple would not release any devices with a curved screen at their product event because “Curved screens require the use of OLED technology, and OLED screens look like crap.” The second part of that phrase is indisputably true. The first part, however, now gives me pause. If the gang down in Cupertino decided that there really was a need for a curved screen on a device, I wouldn’t put it past them to invent a new technology that would allow for a curved screen and a display that doesn’t look like a latter-day version of a powder blue leisure suit.

So – perhaps I should have phrased it “Curved screens currently require the use of OLED technology and since OLED screens look like crap the only way we would see this if some entirely new tech has been invented on the sly.”

Something to ponder, but not too much. It’s the longest of long shots at best. The safe money is still on “no curved displays”.

Geekback – Blackberry Passport – September 24

I mentioned in passing that the new Blackberry Passport is a nice effort from a standpoint of physical design. It’s understated, business-like, and has a cool sort of industrial vibe that makes it stand out from the endless hordes of iPhone clones. In fact, it could almost be the template for an entire corporate gestalt, a design personality that Blackberry could build an entire visual branding upon.

Sadly, the key word in that previous sentence is “almost”. The effect is ruined by the inexplicable decision to slap their logo on the front. Your design is your logo, bozos. Get rid of that and someone up in Waterloo will have truly come up with a winner.

Blackberry PassportOn the plus side, it looks like there is no space at all for a carrier logo. This is a big step for Blackberry – until now they have always referred to the carriers as their customers. The carriers are just carriers – the people who cart around your handset and tap away on it every day, they are the customers. Not letting carriers brand your phone tells your real customers that you care about them (and their experience) first … letting the carriers slap their name on there is a tacit admission that you work for someone other than the people who ultimately buy your phones and pay your bills.

Geekback – Ticket To Ride

For those who asked, I generally connect to play any of the Ticket To Ride titles via Gamecentre, and my tag is “Geekboy_X”. But, if you connect through Days Of Wonder’s own servers, you can find me under “Geekboy”. And yes, we all do dream about the day that the two are somehow integrated …

BlackBerry 10 Screen Capture

For the people who asked, you take a screenshot on a BlackBerry 10 device by pressing the “volume up” and “volume down” hardware buttons together. Interestingly, while you would think that this would be easy with one hand, it’s not.

Geekback – Halftone 1.7

Halftone lovers rejoice – the camera bug that showed up in version 1.7 has been fixed, and the shiny new version 1.7.1 is in the app store and ready for your downloading joy. Now you can enjoy the addition of the Aviary editing tools (rotation, crop, colour and saturation adjustments, brightness, even sharpening) and still use the camera from within the app.

And a super added just-in-time-for-Christmas bonus: A santa hat has been added to the selection of stamps, much to the chagrin of pets, babies, and grumpy old people everywhere. Sweet.

Oh. If for some odd reason you don’t already have halftone, get it. It’s fun, it’s a measly 99 cents, it’s a full iPhone/iPad hybrid so you get full-screen editing goodness, and the gang at Juicy Bits is pretty awesome. That’s win-win-win-win right there.

Geekback – Font Families And Faces In iOS5

Okay. A lot of people sent me mail about “Font Families And Faces In iOS5“. Talking fonts tends to do that – geeks are passionate about typefaces. But blend in comments that are anything less-than-enthusiastic about Android and you get a mailbox full of seething vitriol from the assembled masses.

Seething Vitriol would be a cool name for a band.

Anyway. The angry residents of Androidville protested en masse that any sort of discussion of the Droid font was completely moot and the ravings of an ill-informed boob at this point, since Ice Cream Sandwich has a new set of system fonts called Roboto and they are “awesome”.

You poor, sad, Flav-R-Aid drinking fanboys. Yes, Ice Cream Sandwich (hereafter referred to as Android 4 because Ice Cream Sandwich is about the most jarheaded name for an operating system ever) has replaced the horrid Droid fonts with a new family called Roboto. But Roboto is anything but awesome – it’s pretty much Android’s answer to Arial, just another quick and dirty Helvetica ripoff – and regardless, the chances of it showing up on any existing Android devices are pretty much zero.

Why? Because, despite the fact that Android 4 can technically run on any of the existing devices that are currently packing 2.3 it will never ever be “officially” offered for those devices. Why? Because the “open” nature of Android means that your handset maker and your service provider control your handset, not you. And for them to offer an upgrade would mean spending time and money, neither of which they are particularly inspired to do under the best of circumstances, and certainly not if it means extending the life of your existing handset instead of chivvying you into buying a new one.

Look – if you went out yesterday and plunked your hard-earned coin down on a brand new and as-of-right-now top of the line Samsung Galaxy S II (a very nice piece of hardware) you came home with a phone that running an operating system that was already two versions out of date. And unless you root the phone (and, according to Samsung, completely and forever void your warranty) you have no way at all to update it. Neither Samsung nor your wireless carrier give a rat’s ass about you once you walk out the door. They’ve got your money, and if they aren’t going to go through the minor effort to offer you the upgrades from 2.3.5 to 2.3.6 to 2.3.7, they sure as hell aren’t going to bust their asses to bring you a big-ass update to version 4.

Bottom line: There are new system font faces built into Android, but they are still Steve Perry ugly, and if you want them you are going to be ponying up for new hardware to get ’em.

Geekback – iPhone “5”

A couple of people pointed out that two of the big “disappointments” for the tech press – the lack of a new shape and the lack of a new screenare not disappointing at all for the market that the iPhone 4S is actually aimed at: Specifically, current users of the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and assorted touch-screen Blackberries. For that particular group, this marks a huge upgrade in both screen quality and usefulness of shape – above and beyond all the other amazing new stuff that will be blowing their collective minds.

Apple assumes that having spent good money on a high-quality device, you want to keep it for more than 12 months. New models aren’t aimed at last year’s buyers. But the wankers in the tech media always have the latest and greatest, with new toys flying at them every couple of weeks, so they have no way (or desire, apparently) to evaluate hardware like any sort of a normal person.

I really should have seen that myself. Thanks guys.

Geekback 2 – Zune, Reborn

Apparently the Zune is so far off the radar that the PR department at Microsoft didn’t know that the hardware group had killed it. Or maybe they just didn’t expect anyone to actually be visiting the Zune web page any more and were freaked out that someone actually noticed the change. Regardless, despite having firmly denied yesterday that the Zune hardware was dead, they confirm today that yes, okay, the Zune hardware is dead. Really.

Geekback – Zune, Reborn

The Microsoft PR machine has woken up and is busy firmly denying that the Zune as a hardware device has been discontinued. Firmly denying.