The iPad Effect

After using the iPad mini for a day now, I have noticed it already has affected how I see my iPhone 4 and a hypothetical iTV. I find that this is very much like any other experience in life; the best way to form an opinion about something is to contrast it with something else. This is true from cultures to operating systems, and is also one of the reasons why I encourage people to travel.

The iPad experience

So even though I’ve had the pleasure of using an iPhone 4 for several years now, only now do I notice immediately after switching from the iPad mini how heavy it is! It’s actually heavier than the much bigger iPad mini, and feels uncomfortably heavy initially. Up until now, the solidness of the iPhone 4 has always been a positive to me. The iPad mini is almost (but not quite) too light and this changes the expectation of a smaller device.

After using the the mini for a while, I’m also painfully aware when launching Safari how short the phone’s screen is. So I am not surprised that Apple responded to its iPad advances by adjusting the expectations of how an iPhone should look and feel. I just wasn’t prepared for it!

As I currently don’t have a cover, I’m wondering how to take the iPad with me to work. I already much prefer it in terms of speed, easy of use, and screen estate, to the iPhone. Typing feels a lot easier as well making it much more suitable for articles like this one.

On first use

Oh, and how annoying is it to restore from an iPhone backup as your first iPad experience only to find out that half your apps have been miniaturised? Personally, I think iPhone apps shouldn’t restore to iPad at all, and instead if and when iPad versions are available one should see a list of apps to upgrade to.

Also Instacast, why no iPad version? Perhaps it’s makers agree the iPad is not optimal for enjoying podcasts. I wish we had the option to try it.

So far, it seems I have successfully post-predicted the iPhone 5, the podcasts app and Smart Cover! That makes me think Apple has been using the iPad mini internally for one or two years prior to the iPhone 5, and concluded similarly.

On the TV experience

Later that night as I lay awake and watched BBC News two more things hit me:

  1. How suitable the iPad mini is for watching TV and using apps like Netflix; not just in terms of screen size and crisp visuals but also in terms of content browsing.
  2. How any future Apple TV has to group content apps within a dedicated interface as you don’t want to intersperse these with regular apps on the springboard.
  3. There really should be a way to rest an iPad like how laptops are held up by their bodies, so I can lie back and watch.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of devices bundle where a small iPad acts as the content guide for an apps enabled Apple TV. Maybe add a content browser app with the content apps inside. The tv itself is then just a bigger output of the content already viewable on your tablet.

Plus In the future I would hope to see some sort of evolution of the Smart Cover that can support a device in a 90 degree angle like the iMac stand.

December 26, 2012 at 12:11 PM in iOS

iPhone / iPad workday reminder alarms

IOS tip: I wanted a reminder every workday at a certain time. You can’t set these up in Reminder. Nor in Calendar. Only under Clock > Alarms. And these alarms you cannot swipe to dismiss, you have to swipe to unlock the phone then lock it again. Or snooze the alarm from the lock screen. Not nice when driving.

March 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM in iOS

The price of a messy codebase: No LaTeX for the iPad

The price of a messy codebase: No LaTeX for the iPad – Valletta Ventures.

The first step in compiling WEB code is to run TANGLE to produce unhelpful Pascal source files. Thoughtfully the TeX build system includes a translator to produce compilable C files. Although WEB was hugely influential as the progenitor of modern source code documentation it is now obsolete, and modern extensions to TeX have been written in C. This is compiled alongside the translated WEB code. It is not hard to imagine the effect this has on the readability of the codebase.

Why programming is not yet as advanced as nature in evolution.

November 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM in iOS

Currently Playing #1

Currently playing:

  1. Kard Combat (
  2. Wooords ( … word-game/)
  3. Reckless Getaway (
  4. Shake Spears! (

Or apps wise:

  1. Due (
  2. Air Video (
  3. Kik (
  4. ShoppingList ( … 58413?mt=8)
  5. InstaCast (

July 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM in iOS

iPhone Home Screen

iPhone Home Screen July 2011It’s always fun to discover new apps, and a good way to see which apps are used most is to look at the first home screen. So here’s mine, where is yours?

The apps you can see are (apart from the built in Apple ones):

  1. Captio – Send yourself a quick note with just one tap.
  2. Simplenote – An easy way  to keep notes, lists, ideas, and more.
  3. Action Lists – Getting Things Done made easy.
  4. moneyStrands – Personal finance software.
  5. UK & ROI – navFree navigation software.
  6. ShoppingList – The shopping tool for your iPhone or iPod touch.
  7. Dropbox – Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily.
  8. Due – The missing reminder app fit for your homescreen (multiple alarms)
  9. Instacast – Instant access to podcast subscriptions, stream or download episodes wirelessly, follow show notes and enjoy audio and video podcasts on-the-go.
  10. Tiny Tower – Tower people management game

July 9, 2011 at 3:58 PM in iOS

How I concentrate in a noisy office

We have seven people in a smallish office and typically two people discuss a problem by shouting across the room, while another person is busy making phone calls. As a developer it can be hard to concentrate on programming with all this noise around. That is until I discovered the Inception app.

From the official website:

Experience your life as a dream [..] This app is a dream machine that transforms the world around you into a dreamworld. It uses augmented sound to induce dreams through the headset of your iPhone and iPod Touch. It will change your perception of reality.

The idea of this app is that you listen to it while you do live your life, and in certain situations it unlocks interactive dreams, for example on a sunny day – or in a busy place. The still dream I’m listening to currently records audio through the microphone and playsback the samples through an echo with pitch-shift, resulting in an ever-changing soundtrack.

In my busy office with headphones on, this successfully creates an interactive soundtrack blocking all communications. I prefer it to a regular radio station and other solutions I’ve tried.

Update: Unfortunately this app no longer works with iOS 8. Recommendations are welcome!

March 8, 2011 at 3:10 PM in iOS

WordPress for iPhone Impressions

I’m currently testing the WordPress iPhone app (WfI). It’s great for a free app! However I noticed a few things that need to be polished:

  • It didn’t retrieve the blogs categories from my blog and the category I added to this post wasn’t saved.
  • The interface is a bit slow on the frontpage when clicking an option it doesn’t turn blue immediately
  • There’s currently (18th June 2009) no way to edit the blog’s details after setting up, or ability to remove it that I have found. I changed my user’s password but I cannot change it in WfI! An Edit button on the blog selection screen would definately help in this case. I’ll have to remove the application and redownload it – maybe that helps.

Still it’s a great way to do some writing while not at a desktop and I appreciate the offline mode for iPod Touch users.

June 18, 2009 at 9:20 AM in iOS, WordPress