Macs are such a huge part of my life, I can’t imagine where I’d be without them. I’ve spent thousands of hours installing new applications, customizing icons, designing and abandoning workflows, trying new utilities, widgets and gadgets and generally just using the hell out of Macs and OS X.

Garrett Murray has replaced Prettify with a new site called Useful Mac (@usefulmac). A site dedicated to Macintosh computers; featuring interesting apps, reviews, wallpapers, and icons. Definitely worth bookmarking. I love my Macs.

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Last night at about midnight this idea popped into my head. It was so good (to me) that I decided to write it on my iPhone, while half-asleep, because it was keeping me from going to sleep. I posted it.

Now that I woke up and read it I realize there are a lot of gaps there. Also I don’t even explain the problem very well.

So here is a repost of the idea with URLs explaining what I meant.

As a web developer one thing that is very easy to do is file uploads. There are so many ways to get a file from your computer to my site that people will argue about the best way to do it (it’s Nginx Upload Module, btw).

The problem is when someone using an iOS device hits the “browse” button on their iOS device. There is no file system available and so the button does nothing. Here is where Apple could solve all of this by making the “browse” button open your camera roll and allow you to select an image from it. (Surprise: this is what Android does.)

Since Apple doesn’t allow this many people end up making iOS apps that do everything a mobile site could do plus image upload. If there were just a way to fire up the camera or camera roll from a web page and choose an image to upload, many web developers I know would be very happy (me).

It turns out there is a way to launch an iOS app from a web page. It’s called a protocol handler. Here is an example of it being used in the application Terminology.

The URL terminology://q=word (yes, that’s a valid URL) only works if you have the Terminology application installed, or some other iOS app has registered to handle that URL. So if someone puts it on a web page only people with the app can click the link.

Here is my idea: make an application called Community Camera.app. Community Camera.app registers to handle any URL like camera://url=[…] where […] is a URL that accepts an image upload.

Someone clicks the camera:// link and it opens the Community Camera app with a location to post an image file. The user then either takes a picture or selects an image using the standard controls and then Community Camera.app POSTs that image data to the URL that was passed in.

This way anyone who wants to make a web site that accepts image uploads from iOS devices simply needs to provide a camera://url=http://theirsite.com/upload/token/asdf1234 link on their page. The script at /upload/token/asdf1234 should do three things:

  1. Accept a file upload and return an OK or FAIL message.
  2. Accept the image arriving using the token value. Each token should be a disposable key used for the transaction.
  3. Return a URL for returning back to the web site.

After uploading, the Community Camera.app tells the user if the image was accepted and a button to continue goes to item #3.

Sometimes I get these ideas and I forget them. I really want someone to do this and so I got a bit excited and posted that cryptic post last night. Thanks for reading!

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Someone make this: an iOS app with protocol handler “camera://” that lets me pass a URL for the application to post an image to.

Every web app that needs an iOS app just to get a photo or image into the site could use this non-site-specific iOS app by simply passing in something like:

camera://url=http://some.com/new-image/token/asdf1234

The app launches, user selects image or takes a photo, and then the iOS app posts that image data to the URL passed in via url=...

Now anyone with a web app can offer image uploading as long as that community camera/image picker is installed.

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A thread on MacRumors after the launch of the original iPod in 2001.

What I find most interesting about this thread is how ignorant people were of what Apple was really doing. Given the launch of the iPad, we're all a bit wiser (we'd like to think) of what Apple intends on doing with the device, so this time the arguments aren't just about how limited the device is in hardware features, but how closed the thing is to anything not approved by Apple.

I'm staying out of this whole iPad debate because I find the entire thing a colossal waste of energy. I am in the middle of trying to launch this company, get work, and adjust to my new life. The last thing I care to fixate on is what Apple does with Apple's money to make money.

I am a zealot about me, and less about standards, DRM, or whatever argument of the day is. Perhaps I'll regret it later, but for now it's fun to watch this stuff play out. Mostly I think because it's not a major investment, something I'd really like to try out at our house, and like the AppleTV won't be the only game in town for very long.

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Amber has put together 20 prints in a holiday gift guide for 2009. She pored through hundreds of prints (I know, I watched) and agonized (I know, I watched) to whittle that list down to 20.

They are fantastic prints ranging from the very affordable "$50 & Under", "For Kids", and the "Extravagant".

If you can, please share with friends and link her guide or use that StumbleUpon thing that confuses me.

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The last couple of days I've been setting up my laptop while I work. As I've needed apps I've downloaded them. I think it's neat to see which ones I really need to do what I do.

It doesn't include iWork, the XCode tools, or some PHP modules, but that's most of it.

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I totally missed this, but it looks like there was a contest to produce a free and open sourced version of the wildly under-featured for its price .Mac. For now both the server and client have to be running OS X, but people are already working on making the server Linux/Windows compatible.

Dude won $8,622!

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I took my Apple Rebate in to get an iPod shuffle so Amber and I could, uh, shuffle songs back and forth between us on our commutes. Kind of like a mix-tape that keeps on giving. Now we'll be able to sort out wedding music by making each other playlists on an entirely dispensable device. Plus I get to make Amber mix tapes, and that's always fun.

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AT&T is (still) Broken. I have no idea why Apple agreed to this. SMS and no AIM I understand ($), SMS with no MMS is stupid.

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Apple offers apology, rebate. Totally unnecessary for me, but really smart of them. This is how customer service is done.

When people asked me after the price-drop if I was pissed about buying one, I said "no way". I love my little iPhone and think it was totally worth the $599 when I bought it. I'm an adult and make decisions about what to buy based on what I can afford. I think a lot of people who felt burned got caught up in it and really couldn't afford the price tag in the first place.

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The Apple/Starbucks feature felt like a "meh" during the announcements yesterday, but this morning I found myself in a Starbucks and "I Melt With You" started playing, but slower and sung by a woman.

Even though I don't buy sappy remakes of songs from my teen years, my curiosity was getting the best of me. Before I was just a dope standing in line tapping away on my iPhone, now I can be a dope buying things! Getting people to buy music when they're not in a music store has always been the plan, whether you're sitting at your desk or grabbing coffee and the newspaper on a Sunday afternoon.

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Here's a neat trick you can do to type periods and commas and anything else in the alternate keyboard page.

The short of it is: when you want to type something from that alternate keyboard, touch the alternate key but don't lift your finger, instead slide it over to the key you want to insert and then let go.

The alternate key doesn't receive the "key up" message so it flips back to normal key layout, and the key you wanted does receive the "key up" message so it inserts that character.

I'm getting pretty fast with the keyboard. I had a bet with someone who said the iPhone would have a normal keypad in the next iteration and these phones would be sitting on the clearance shelf in six months. I think I'm going to win.

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I got an iPhone. Well...Amber went early this morning and picked up two 8 gig iPhones for us, so technically I don't have it yet. But I pretty much decided I was going to cave eventually, so why not just get it over with?

I hate buying 1st generation Apple products, but after reading reviews, and hearing friends talk highly of it I decided the 1st gen curse might not apply to this one.

My current phone (for the next hour or so) is the k790a. It's the best phone I've ever owned. The 3.2 megapixel camera is reason enough to own it, and Cabel's review is the reason I bought it unlocked for $400.

Oddly enough Cabel referred to the unannounced iPhone in his review way back in November 2006, three months before it was revealed: "And, of course, now that I bought this phone, Apple should be releasing the iPhone any minute now. Thank me later." Thanks, Cabel.

I'm excited to try out two todo lists: dopointoh.com and tadalist.com. Until they open up the platform for development, there's going to be a fun little burst of web apps like what David Cann is doing.

So in conclusion: fun times, fancy phone, and I like to think there's a bathroom or storage closet in Steve's house I've completely paid for (except he draws a salary of $1 so maybe that episode of Ugly Betty I grabbed a couple weeks ago took care of that).

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78379_bigiphoneinhand Them Saying: I have these ferry tickets, they expire in June, do you want to buy them?
Me Thinking: Mmmm, June...iPhone...June...

Them Saying: The triathlon is in June!
Me Thinking: Mmmmmmmm, touch screen, wide-screen iPod...

Them Saying: In June it will be your two year anniversary at work!
Me Thinking: Mmmmmm, bonus money go to iPhone

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Url The part of this interview with Steve Jobs I identified with was this:

I got to know this man, whose name was Larry Lang, and he taught me a lot of electronics. He was great. He used to build Heathkits.
... I mean you looked at a television set you would think that "I haven't built one of those but I could. There's one of those in the Heathkit catalog and I've built two other Heathkits so I could build that." Things became much more clear that they were the results of human creation not these magical things that just appeared in one's environment that one had no knowledge of their interiors. It gave a tremendous level of self-confidence, that through exploration and learning one could understand seemingly very complex things in one's environment.

I had a similar influence with my dad. Although he wasn't handy with electronics he could fix cars and pretty much build whatever he wanted with metal or wood. He would always show me how something worked by lifting the hood of an engine and explaining what was going on with the wires and tubes, or showing me how a wall should be framed and explaining the physics of it. He'd always take a break with what he was doing to explain why he was doing it.

When I got older it became second nature for me to not just accept something worked, but take it apart and learn how it worked (and probably break it). I wasn't comfortable using something like an iron or a bicycle gear without having some idea what was going on on the inside.

I broke a lot of irons and bicycle gears. And doorknobs. And this one gun that shot sparks. Slot cars. Other people's slot cars...

When I finally got my hands on a computer I could program, I set to learning how software was made by typing in all the sample code from the backs of magazines. At first I was completely perplexed as to what I was typing, but slowly I'd start to notice patterns and pick up what variables were by noticing if I changed a number from 10 to 50 I'd have 50 bullets instead of 10 when I played the game. It was kind of magical, I could make the computer do anything I wanted it to do—or at least I had some idea what was going on.

Though never really all that excited about making free calls, I was fascinated with the phone system for some time. It was an open playground of stuff people didn't know about or took for granted. You could call numbers that would tell you what number you were calling from, you could amaze your friends with ring-backs, there were party lines you could talk to other people on and they'd give you numbers to try out. And holy crap, this thing had been in our house all this time!

Eventually I got bored. The people you met were kinda odd. And then there were these silly "hacker crackdowns" fanned by luddite-journalists in need of a boogey man as the Cold War was ending. It felt a lot like it does now with the silly terrorism plots and bird flu they've now latched on to. Either way something I enjoyed toying with became a black art, and I moved on to other things. Around that time I became aware of the Internet and college and the rest is history.

I was glad to read this interview because I've always had an admiration for Gates and Woz as being engineers, but never thought of Steve as one, or having a background similar to mine.

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Hi, I'm a Mac—
(computer turns off).

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So, I accidentally landed on a Slashdot/Ubuntu page today, and the anti-Mac user sniping made me think about those little badges people used to put on their sites that said "Made on a Mac". I don't think people realize how many of us developers are actually making things on the Mac. (So many that they mock honored the non-Mac users at a recent Rails Conf).

I thought, "Whatever happened to those badges? Why don't we see them anymore?"

Well, it wasn't hard to find out. You can get them here, though god knows why you'd want to. The placement guidelines are fine, and I understand why they would exist, but the thing looks so bad to start with, and the 7 point trademark license kind of makes you wonder if even thinking about placing their ugly badge violates some rule.

Staring at that little GIF of generic blandness, you can almost imagine the 440 hours of meetings, lunches, and lawyer billing it took to make it.

It might as well say, "Made on a Computer".

Oh, and, since I'm displaying it, I have to also note:
Apple, the Apple logo, and Mac are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Made on a Mac Badge is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., used with permission.

Joy.

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While contemplating how I'm going to use my new iPod shuffle, I came across this cassette adapter ("with a brain", they say). Use the controls on your cassette player to control your iPod. One of the reasons I stopped listening to my iPod in the car was having to fumble for the device to move about. Now I can use the controls that are on my steering wheel.

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I like the new Apple product box art. They remind me of that moment during the opening of The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show when Rocky and Bullwinkle were being re-incarnated or "grown" back to the surface of the earth after being killed--what the heck was up with that intro? Anyway, yeah, 70's cartoons and illustrations. Earth tones, felt, macramé plant holders hanging over the toilet. Good stuff. Indexilifebox20050111_1Indexiworkbox20050111_1

Nothing released today is something I need, but it's always nice to see them really hitting that switcher market hard. The use of the word "mini" reminds me of BMW's plan to introduce people to the BMW family of cars early with their own "mini".

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Not only is this story of Audion a great read, but the popups are pretty cool as well. Be sure and click the links in that article to see them all.

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I've been waiting for Delicious Library since I first saw the previews. They've opened up the site a bit and provided a bit more information about the company as well as the product. This screenshot really says it all, though.

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Safaritypo

Probably nitpicking, but I just noticed that when I mouse over the built-in Google search box in Safari I get a poorly worded (?) tool-tip.

A couple other people noticed it too. That seems like a pretty big bug to just miss.

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I got caught up in the iTunes contest and ended up buying an album song-by-song during the 100,000,000 mark. Using these two sites as indicators of when it was going to happen.

I think I got close since my purchases were spread out during the 5 minute update interval. Mat pointed out that it was fortuitous that the switch happened on the eve of MacWorld where they could announce the 100,000,000 mark—as well as the 50,000 song sales sales in the span of about 10 minutes.

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