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iPhone 3.0

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
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iPhone 3.0 packs so many new features into it; it’s incredible. Some are long awaited features (Cut, Copy, Paste/Landscape keyboard/MMS), some are long due features (Push Notifications), some are extremely useful (Spotlight), some are nothing short of amazing (External Accessory Framework), and some are icing on the top of the cake (P2P/In-App Purchase/Map Kit Framework/Voice memos).

There are way too many to list here, but Apple claims iPhone 3.0 has 1,000 new APIs and 100 new features.

I’d love to get my hands on it right now, but it’s only shipping this summer.

(Which is why I signed up for the iPhone Developer Programme. It was going to be now or later, anyway. :D)

View the AppleInsider articles here:
iPhone 3.0: 100 new features for users; 1,000 new APIs for devs
iPhone OS 3.0 first impressions and photos
iPhone 3.0 adds Copy & Paste, MMS, global Spotlight search (photos)
iPhone 3.0 to include peer-to-peer support, push notification (photos)

Apple releases a slew of hardware updates on Tuesday

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
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Apple announced updates to the following hardware on Tuesday (links are to AppleInsider’s articles):

NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics on Mac mini (finally!)

More affordable iMac

“Nehalem” Xeon processors in Mac Pro

2.66 GHz MacBook Pro with larger SSDs

Compact wired Apple keyboard

AirPort Extreme & Time Capsule with MobileMe sharing support

Safari 4 beta

Friday, February 27, 2009
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I know there have already been a few reviews on Safari 4 beta, but I just want to add my two cents. The interface feels so polished, stable and smooth, and the new features are really nice. You can view the full list of Safari 4’s features here.

safari-4-tab-bar

1. Tabs where the window title bar is. (Supposedly this emulates Google’s Chrome browser, though I have yet to try using Chrome yet because I’m lazy to use Windows.) The tabs are unobtrusive but do their job. Even the plus button in the right-hand corner is in the right place, where a new tab should appear, and doesn’t jump out crying for your attention. This is more intuitive than clicking an empty space next to existing tabs (as on Safari 3 and Firefox for Mac). My dad never knew how to open new tabs on Safari 3.

On the right corner of each tab a tiny lined triangle appears when the tab is selected or moused over. Clicking and dragging that allows you to reorder or separate that tab into a new window. I have to say that the expanding animation into a thumbnail of a new window seems smoother than on Safari 3.

safari-4-top-sites

2. Top sites page. A really amazing page (default homepage) filled with live-updating thumbnails of your recent, frequented sites. Clicking the ‘Edit’ button lets you pin specific sites to the page so it sticks there. When you click a thumbnail, it ‘zooms in’ smoothly and undims to load into the actual webpage. Apple has included a special button just for bringing up the ‘Top Sites’ page.

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The Relocated Refresh Button

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The Spinning Loading Pinwheel

3. Relocated refresh/reload button & loading pinwheel in address bar. The refresh button has been moved to the right-most corner of the address bar (a la Mobile Safari on the iPhone), and the blue loading progress bar within the address bar is now gone. In its place is a grey pinwheel (I don’t know what it is called) that replaces the reload button when the webpage is loading. Once the webpage is loaded, the refresh button reappears. Nice, subtle touch, but I kind of miss the blue bar.

safari-4-bookmarks-cover-flow

4. Revamped Bookmarks page. The Bookmarks page now sports a Finder-like sidebar, Cover Flow, as well as Spotlight-inspired search, where you can choose to search from all your bookmarks or just the collection/folder that you have selected in the sidebar. Cover Flow works well here because the visual approach is useful for bookmarked webpages. It runs smoothly on my new Unibody MacBook. I think this is new as well: Collections includes URLs from your Address Book.

You can also search your history from the Top Sites page itself. Once you start typing in the search box, the page changes to a Cover Flow view of webpage matches in your history. However, something that bothers me slightly is that I can’t seem to move through Cover Flow using arrow keys on the keyboard. I have to click using the mouse, or use two-fingered scrolling. Also, minor complaint about consistency, but there is no zoom-in animation when loading pages from Cover Flow.

5. Support for CSS 3 animations, HTML 5 offline caching, 100% on Acid 3 test & Nitro JavaScript engine. I don’t know much about the new Nitro, but  Safari 4 is big on performance, and on the overall, it is much farther down on the path to standards compliance, which is a good thing to have in the WWW.

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Before scaling

After scaling

After scaling

6. Scalable rendering of Webpages (Apple’s marketing calls it Full-Page Zoom). My favourite feature by far. I used to use Firefox 3 for Mac to use this feature, but I still preferred Safari’s simplicity. With this feature introduced, I have even less reason to use Firefox now. In Safari 3, if you attempted to increase the font size (scale text only) by pressing ‘Command’ and ‘+’, text in columns sometimes spilled over to nowhere and got cut off. Most of the time, the effect was to completely ruin the layout of the Webpage. Now, all elements on the page scale up and down at the same time, and by the same amount, such that the layout of the page is preserved beautifully. The only gripe I have so far is that the two-fingered pinch action on the new trackpads scales Webpages in Safari far too quickly to be comfortable. A little pinch can almost instantly bring up the size to 200%.

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Smart Address Bar

Google Search on Safari 4 offers suggestions

Google Search on Safari 4 offers suggestions

7. Improved auto-completion. Smart Address Bar: Now when you start typing in the address bar, a popup auto-complete feature groups matches into Top Hit, History, and Bookmarks. Nice touch here. I always thought Safari’s auto-complete in the address bar was lacking. Suggestions in Google search bar: Typing in the incorporated Google search bar will offer you search suggestions and recent searches as well.

You can download the new Safari 4 public beta here.

You can watch the Safari 4 welcome video here.

New Piece of Kit: Canon EOS 450D

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
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My first foray into the world of digital SLR: a Canon EOS 450D. I have to say I love it after using it for a day. The weight and size (this was one of the major factors that prevented me from buying a dSLR in the first place) is great and I like the user interface. Regarding the more technical aspects of photography, maybe I’ll post on it after reading up and exploring more.

Just some pictures to whet your appetite 😀

Missing Bluetooth on my Mac?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Something really odd occurred today. My Mac informed me that I did not have a Bluetooth module installed, and thus I couldn’t use my BT mouse. I was running it without the battery installed. Repeated reboots didn’t help.

When I returned the battery to its compartment and cold booted my Mac, the Bluetooth module somehow reappeared.

Windows 7 on Mac, via Bootcamp

Monday, February 9, 2009

AppleInsider: “Mac users who have a need to run Windows applications or games may have good reason to keep an eye on the development of Windows 7, due for release later this year. Among its features are easier setup and installation.”

Copy of iLife ’09!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I managed to obtain a free copy of iLife ’09 as my brother just bought a new MacBook Pro a few days ago. I installed it without any problems, but I still have yet to try it out. When I do have time to play around with it (hopefully this weekend), I’ll post a brief review.