Dave Caolo writes today at The Unofficial Apple Weblog about how, with all the emphasis and hype and interest in multitasking, one of the coolest things he likes about it after using it for a few weeks is that it does just one thing at a time.
It’s amazing how eagerly we invite distraction upon ourselves. Consider how frequently we do two (or more) things at once. While an app launches, I check Twitter. As a Web page loads, I Command-Tab over to Mail. All the while, iTunes plays music, and I’m thinking about what else must be done today.
I became keenly aware of how infrequently I focus on one single thing when I started using my iPad. For the most part (yes, you can play music in the background), it does one thing at a time. In fact, when I’m using an app on the iPad, it becomes that app.
WeatherBug makes it a weather station. Launch Twitterrific and your iPad becomes Twitter. The New York Times turns my iPad, for all intents and purposes, into an (abridged) issue of that newspaper. There’s no beep, chirp or other electronic fidget to lure me away from simply reading a story.
Having owned an iPad now for a little over a month, I’ve found he’s right.
Over the last month, I haven’t stayed caught up on the different Google Reader RSS articles I’ve wanted to read. Like Mr. Caolo, I’m definitely an information addict. I found a very-well-reviewed new Google Reader app yesterday (also on TUAW, ironically) called Reeder, available both in iPhone and iPad flavors. Through most of yesterday evening, I just zipped through all of the back articles I wanted to check on, getting back down to zero, and the unitasking environment of the iPad helped get me through it without being distracted by Twitter, Facebook and other web pages — my iPad wasn’t any of those things at that point in time; it was just a feed reader.
Open for comment: how do you handle distractions when you’re working online?
For those who hadn’t heard yet, I have new wheels.
Pictured: my new 2009 Chevrolet Impala LTZ. Officially, the registration says “Blue” for color; while it looks very close to what GM says is Aqua Blue Metallic, it could also just as easily be Slate Metallic, too. The interior is gray leather.
Its only previous owner appears to be a Hertz rental shop in Hawaii (I’ve never been there, but apparently my car has!), and it only had about 12,800 miles on it when we bought it from Auction Direct USA in Victor, NY. Under the hood (more photos likely to come later on this) is a 3.9L V6 engine, getting 233 hp. The car is capable (see the “FLEXFUEL” badge on the tailgate) of running on E85, but considering 1) it’s not as easily available in Rochester and 2) it’s not as powerful or as efficient as gasoline, I’m likely sticking to gasoline for the time being. Features include power sliding sunroof, rear spoiler, built-in remote start and keyless entry, Bose 8-speaker sound system, heated seats and dual-zone climate control (passenger can set heating/cooling temperature independently from the driver).
Have a look through the Flickr set to see more of the car, as well as the new Empire Gold plates being issued in New York State. They’ve generated quite a lot of reaction, both good and bad, but I kinda like them.
As I’m writing this, it’s a little under a half-hour to the exact 40th anniversary of the oxygen tank rupture that severely damaged the Apollo 13 spacecraft, Odyssey. To mark the occasion, of sorts, I just finished watching the film Apollo 13 again. On one hand, it still amazes me what everyone had to go through not only to make normal missions successful, but to come through in pinch after pinch to make #13 survivable.
I’m not sure anymore, with reports of funding and program cuts, that NASA will send anyone to the moon again soon, if ever; government programming to get people to the International Space Station after the end of this year seems to be in doubt. I’m curious to wonder, though, what might come from private business ventures. Time will soon tell; I hope it’s within my lifetime, as I would love to see humans on the moon again, and beyond to Mars.
This mouse looks really cool, and I’m looking forward to trying one out when it appears in Apple Stores (the press release announcing Magic Mouse says it will be available at “the end of October”). The scrolling functions look like quite the improvement over the Logitech V270 Bluetooth mouse I have a mild gripe with now. More on that in a minute, though; first, I did notice a possible problem with using it in my setup.
Coincidental with the announcement of the new mouse, a new tech support article was published on Apple’s support site indicating that the scrolling and two-finger swipe controls were not available in Boot Camp (even in version 3.0, the version that just came with Snow Leopard last month). I can deal with not having the swipe, but I use the scrolling controls quite a bit, especially in games. I can imagine it being a problem on games, though, as MouseWheelUp and MouseWheelDown are essentially button presses to which games can map controls, and they would be difficult to map to a fluid scroll motion. Â With any luck, they may release drivers for it in Boot Camp at some future date.
My Logitech mouse, understandably, works great in Windows on Boot Camp (as it did on my previous Windows laptop). The mouse wheel scrolling behaves a little weirdly in Snow Leopard (and presumably in previous versions of Mac OS X, too; I just haven’t had a chance to try it out yet); since the mouse wheel is the version that “clicks,” instead of a smoother-scrolling wheel like many newer mice or the Mighty Mouse’s scroll ball. I’m used to my wheel scrolling the exact same distance with each click no matter how fast I scroll it, whereas in OS X the slower I scroll the wheel, the shorter the scroll distance. At it’s slowest, one click of the wheel scrolls a whopping total of one pixel line, which is next to useless.
From all this, I’m left with a few choices:
- get the Magic Mouse when it becomes available,
- get the Magic Mouse, but hang on to the Logitech mouse for Windows gaming use,
- continue searching for a way to make the mouse scrolling on the Logitech mouse work in Mac OS X the way I’m used to in Windows, or
- go with an altogether different (and presumably more cross-compatible) Bluetooth mouse (Bluetooth is important; I don’t want to tie up a USB port either with a wired mouse or with a wireless transceiver for a different type of wireless mouse).
I’m probably not doing anything anytime soon, but I’m interested in your feedback: which of these do you think is the best way to proceed? Plus, if you’ve got any ideas on the Logitech mouse wheel scroll speed in OS X, let me know that too. Comments are open below!
Mar 5, 2009 Geek
Who is this Kal Durak, and why should you beware of him?
Some of you already know. A few more might know.
Several can figure it out with some Google hunting.
And a large number of you are probably very, very confused.
What does it all mean?!?
Stay tuned to find out.
UPDATE: Announcement coming at noon EST on March 6th.
Nov 29, 2008 Geek
I’ve got a number of different games for my iPhone, but one is missing — the perennial favorite, Sudoku. Try searching for a Sudoku game in the App Store — there’s over a hundred results.
I know there’s at least a few of my readers out there with iPhones or iPod touches, and I can probably draw a few more out from Twitter and the like. Anyone have a recommendation as to which one’s the best?
I’ve been playing a few really addicting games on the iPhone lately. Two spring to mind as getting the most time from me lately.
Frenzic is, on the surface, a simple little puzzle game: place the wedges into one of the six circles, and get points as you complete the circles.Â Oh, but you have a limited number of “lives” that you lose when you can’t fit a wedge into a circle, and you get bonuses and extra lives for making sure the circles are all the same color (out of three possible choices). Plus, you have a limited amount of time to work with for each wedge. Gets crazy and frantic pretty quick — therein lies the challenge.
Blue Defense! also appears to be almost stupidly simple. You’re job is to defend a blue planet against red alien attackers. The guns are on auto-fire; you just have to tilt the phone to aim the guns — which always shoot straight up — at the oncoming attackers.Â Seems pretty easy at first, but each wave has more and more aliens coming at you all at once, and the planet can move around from level to level, prompting you to need to reorient the iPhone to be able to shoot properly again.
If you use an iPhone or an iPod touch, what addicting games are you playing lately?
Ten years ago on this date, the first module of the International Space Station was launched into orbit from Kazakhstan. After some delays, it’s only a few short years from completion.
Building a space station is a challenge, to be sure, but the cool part is what you do with it when you’re done building it. Here’s to a decade in space and a launchpad to the Moon, Mars and beyond…