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Category Archives: Reviews

An iPhone App to Die For…

Matt Rosoff of CNET reviews an iPhone app called PlaySafe that makes browsing your music library much more visible while driving. Drop the 99¢ and save a fender or two.


PlaySafe iPhone App

Matt Rosoff of CNET has posted an early review of the Zune HD

After a few hours on Tuesday of playing with the Zune HD that Microsoft sent me, I found a lot of things I like about it–the slim size, the Quickplay user interface feature that gives you immediate access to recently added and favorite songs, the big on-screen volume controls, and the Zune Pass, for example. But the Web browser seems like an afterthought.

Zune HD

Music workstation suite adds flexible audio, improved editing and live performance, simulated amps and effects

by Peter Kirn,

Digital music workstation software can include an encyclopedic array of functionality. But when it comes to using these tools creatively in music making, a few details and the way they fit together can make a huge difference.

Flex Time and editing improvements make manipulating recorded audio more satisfying; MainStage 2 is a more complete live performance solution; lots of amp and effects goodies; many subtle usability tweaks.

MainStage’s looper can’t set a tempo from a first loop; Some tasks require switching between Flex Time Markers and Transient Markers; MIDI editing and some add-ons due for a refresh.

Posted by Soulskill on Slashdot.

Apple just finished their latest press event, and they revealed a number of new services and features for their products. They kicked things off by saying that iPhone OS 3.1 is now available. It will add the Genius recommendation technology to the App store, giving users suggestions on which apps they might find useful based on what others with similar needs use. They’re also adding 30,000 ringtones that users can purchase. Next, they announced iTunes 9, which will use Genius to make mixes by analyzing songs in your library to see which go well together. iTunes is also seeing UI improvements for things like app management, and syncing utilities. You’ll be able to easily transfer apps, music, and videos from one of your local devices to another, and there is integrated support for Twitter and Facebook if you want to send music as a gift. Another big new feature: iTunes LPs. These LPs will be a digital album with cover art, lyrics, videos, and other customized content created by the artists themselves. Moving on, they showed off a few new games: an Assassin’s Creed sequel, an FPS called Nova that had impressive graphics and multiplayer capability, Riddim Ribbon, a futuristic driving/music game that lets you remix your songs by how you navigate the course, and Madden NFL 2010. Next, Apple announced a price cut for the 8GB iPod Touch and a doubling of available storage for the other models. It’s also getting OpenGL 2.0. The iPod Classic is getting a storage upgrade from 120GB to 160GB. In addition, there are headphones that have a controller for the Shuffle. Finally, Jobs got down to his “one more thing”: Apple will now be building a video camera into the back of every iPod Nano. Apparently it will be a simple matter to sync videos to your computer or put them up on YouTube, and they’re building in an FM radio as well. A detailed liveblog of the event with a ton of screenshots is available at Engadget.

Apple Announces iTunes 9, “LPs,” Video Camera For the iPod Nano

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

The new iTunes 9 offers special “iTunes Extras” as free downloads with the purchase of “iTunes LP” albums or movies. The new free bonus content is delivered as a self-contained website of bonus materials, making it easy to author.

Apple rivals DVD with new iTunes Extras for movies and albums

Comparing Microsoft and Apple Websites’ Usability

‘In the article entitled Apple vs. Microsoft — A Website Usability Study, Dmitry Fadeyev, co-founder of Pixelshell, compares Apple’s and Microsoft’s web sites from a usability perspective, and Apple is the winner. Scott Barnes, PM at Microsoft, agrees with him and suggests the problem is because various site sub-domains have different management.’

Lost your iPhone?
I found this blog reviewing the “Find my iPhone” feature on Apple’s MobileMe Service. Read More >

So unlike most people (apparently), I liked the placement of the tabs at the top of the Safari browser. I enjoy having 28 extra pixels of screen height and felt Apple got this one right. I understand if some people don’t want to change, but to me, this is exactly the type of user experience and refinement that defines why Apple has been able to “Think Different” for decades.

The thing that needs a UI change is bringing back the progress bar. How can anyone tell how much of a page has loaded with a spinning wheel? This seems like a vital portion of web browsing. Adding the word “Loading” on a blue background still doesn’t tell me how much longer I have to wait until my page has completely loaded.

I wasn’t excited about the “Top Sites” feature, but surprisingly, I use it daily. It’s quicker than browsing through bookmarks.

The other features are trivial in my browsing experience.

I’ve yet to upgrade from Safari Beta because I don’t want to lose my top tabs. Maybe if enough of us blog, Apple will at least give us a preference setting to choose top tabs.

Safari 4 Beta

Apple released a new beta version of Safari, bringing a whole load of new features, as well as a couple of problems. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of the new version and solve any teething problems you might have.

14 Tips for Safari 4 Beta

“It’s UI Salad!”

Steven Frank of has posted an interesting commentary of the MS Office 2010 preview.

Be sure to read the follow up.