Simply Jonathan

Archive for February 2010

Locations.app 

Permanent location of 'Locations.app'

Filed for future reference — this seems like an ideal fit for a MacBook.

(Via Andy Ihnatko on MacBreak Weekly.)

The Unread Badge

A long time ago, I tweeted about how uncomfortable the unread badges on email programmes and other software make me feel. That there is something I have to attend to.

When I got Reeder for the iPhone (which, by the way, is a great Google Reader synchronisation app for the iPhone), and discovered that the settings allowed for an unread badge, I quickly turned it on. I reasoned something along the lines of ‘well, I have to know how many unread items I have, because that’s what one does with these sort of applications’. I quickly turned it off, however.

The thing is, the unread badge hangs as a symbol of guilty conscience, there is something I should attend to, which I haven’t.

Marco Arment published an article on the side effects of writing software for oneself, in this case Instapaper, because one gets to make the decisions. He makes explicit mention of an unread count on the folders. It just so happened that the evening before, I had sent an email to Marco requesting this very feature — Marco assures me it wasn’t directly spurred by my email, despite my initial belief, but I was nonetheless one of the requesters.

This time, my reasoning wasn’t to do with ‘unread count’ per se, it was more of a convenience issue for me, I didn’t want to browse through all the folders I had, to see where I had some reading material stored. Marco’s response was well argued, though — Instapaper generally doesn’t store material that you urgently have to respond to. And that’s what the unread badge signifies: urgency.

And so very little of what we do at a computer is really urgent. A co-worker might think some email is urgent, but it is rarely really urgent. We pollute our views and realities if we think that every email, every new item in our feed reader, and every new tweet really need attention within five minutes.

When we sit at our computers (at least on our personal time), it should be a pleasant experience. Connecting with friends, reading interesting stuff, playing games, all that jazz. But if we make the illusion that any of these (specifically the second point of reading) are urgent, don’t we remove the feeling of enjoyment?

I think so, and that’s why I’ve disabled the unread badge in and automatic synchronisation of NetNewsWire and Mail.app. Reclaiming my computer, letting it act on my premises.

Now, if only I could get Tweetie to stop synchronising automatically, and stop reminding me that I have unread tweets.

Plupload 

Permanent location of 'Plupload'

An attempt to make seamless fallback different multiple upload options (HTML5, Flash, Gears, Silverlight, and Yahoo BrowserPlus [the last of which I did not know of before I saw this site]).

I think it is a great idea, but the implementation seems lacking at the moment — it certainly didn’t work well in my Safari 4.0.4 with ClickToFlash.

Eric Meyer on Browsers' Handling of Decimal Pixels 

Eric Meyer made a test of how browsers handle an increasing size of text elements (nesting a load of <b> elements with a font-size of 1.04em in an element with a font-size of 10px), and enters a philosophical discussion of whether browsers should display the actually used font-size (that is, the rounded one they use for displaying) or the one they carry with them (unrounded).

I personally think Safari and Opera’s handling is the most correct (the computed value must be the one that the user can actually experience), but I have nothing to back that up with.

Preview.app OCR

And, speaking of screenshots, following my own tweet, I took this screenshot as proof of my claim:

A screenshot showing a Preview.app window and a Pages.app window side by side, with the OCR'ed text from the Preview document pasted into the Pages document – they are hardly identical

Taking Screenshots in Mac OS X 

I have been a Mac user for five years now, and I still can never remember the different screenshot shortcuts. So this will hopefully help me as a future reference.

This is Simply Jonathan, a blog written by Jonathan Holst. It's mostly about technical topics (and mainly the Web at that), but an occasional post on clothing, sports, and general personal life topics can be found.

Jonathan Holst is a programmer, language enthusiast, sports fan, and appreciator of good design, living in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe. He is also someone pretentious enough to call himself the 'author' of a blog. And talk about himself in the third person.