written by john lewis

Apple Category Archive

iCloud predictions

It’s now only about 24 hours before WWDC kicks off and the two major themes emerging pre-keynote are that announcements will centre on software (no hardware), and Apple’s cloud services offering; iCloud.

It’s unique Apple that have let it be known that iCloud will be presented and I wonder if it’s partially to allay the disappoint of no new iPhone.

But if I had to make a single prediction on iCloud it would be less about the actual services included and more about its value. My guess would be that it matches MobileMe – in that it’s an Apple service I’ve never found convincing enough, value-wise, to sign up for.

For £60/year you get a service that almost matches what I currently receive for free from a combination of Google and Dropbox.

24 hours and counting.

Posted in: Apple

What gives with iPhone screen brightness

I’m one of those 60% of people who sleep with their iPhone within arms reach. Usually its because of that last game of Tiny Wings I just had to play before drifting off.

In a dark bedroom I usually have the brightness set very low. I’ll notice this in the morning when I can barely see the screen in any form of background light.

No problem, I’ll just scale up the brightness a little.

Hmmm, maybe some more then.

What? More!?

Gah! My eyes!

My iPhone seems to only have two brightness settings. There is this tiny magic space in the middle of the brightness slider where it goes from too-dark to too-bright. Auto-Brightness as a setting is relatively useless as I’m constantly changing brightness regardless, multiple times a day.

What would help is if brightness was in the multi-tasking bar for the iPhone, like it is on the iPad. It could completely replace the volume selector that is two swipes to the left. I never use it considering there are actual buttons on the phone that work just as well.

Perhaps June 6th will provide answers.

Posted in: Apple, iPhone

Introducing AcornHq

A couple of months ago I left my position at Ponoko, handing over to the highly capable Josh (aka Mr Judkins). It was quite emotional leaving Ponoko, *sniff*. We were in Argentina at the time and Sarah suggested it would be a good idea to take a couple of months off once we got to London.

“And do what exactly?” I said.

“Whatever you want!” came the rather apt reply…

I got to chew on that chestnut while we continued traveling around Argie. The two big reaffirmations for were: 1) I love the web, still… and 2) I love to create. Then I had an idea I knew I wanted to work on followed by another and another.

So here’s the first, AcornHq:


AcornHq is, in a sentence, a carbon offset site for iPod and iPhone users.

At the very core the idea was to promote more environmentally responsible gadget ownership. To start with this means we provide an easy way for people to offset the carbon associated with their iPod or iPhone.

We all love our iPods and iPhones but they do have a very real cost to the environment. Carbon is emitted when your iPod is manufactured, when your iPod is transported from the factory to you, and when you use power to recharge your iPod. How that power is generated to recharge your iPod also has a huge impact. Think hydro vs. coal…

So you come to AcornHq and join a tree by purchasing a leaf, for US$3.50. Once all the leaves on that tree have been taken, we plant a tree in the South Island to offset those iPods. Trees being most excellent at extracting and absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

You can then place your tree on your website and watch it fill up with leaves as more people join it. Also, when the trees we plant reach the end of their life, the plan is for any timber produced by the trees to go into community housing projects.

This is just the start and I’m quite excited about everything else to follow but do have a look and let me know what you think!

A big public thank you to my lovely wifey for helping me wrap my brain around this idea and asking the hard but essential questions. Thanks to Olmec Sinclair too for his hard work which has ultimately allowed me to realise this idea.

This is the first of (what I hope will be) three or four wee projects you’ll see from me in the next couple of months.

P.S. Argentina has to be one of the most insanely great countries in the world, you really should go visit. It’s a total Lovemark for me – hope to go back to live one day.

Posted in: Apple, Environment, Web, Work

Photoshop’s save for web problem

I recently upgraded to Adobe’s CS3 on my Mac and found a problem with my colours changing when saving for the web in Photoshop. Why o why were my colours changing!!

This page here has the solution, I assume everyone will have this same issue once they’ve upgraded…

Dialog menu

How on earth could this possibly be useful to be enabled *by default*? I feel hurt Adobe.

Posted in: Apple, Web, Work

iTMS finally makes the long trek to the Antipodes

itmsnz.jpg It was announced this morning that the iTunes Music Store was being released here in NZ. Fantastic! I remember watching a webcast of Steve Jobs announcing the iTMS for the first time. I had only just started sipping the Apple koolaid having bought my first Mac (a shiny iBook G3). I remember thinking “OMG, that is so freaking cool! 250,000 songs!? That’s huge! I wonder how long it’ll be before it gets to NZ”.

After double checking Wikipedia, iTMS was first launched in April, 2003… That was three and half years ago! In that time we’ve seen video iPods, G5s come and go, and hell freeze over with the Mac plaform switching to Intel chips. It’s a bit of a joke we’ve had to wait this long, apparently we are the last English-speaking developed country to receive the store.

However, all of that is now past us :D and I’ve already signed up and bought my first few songs. My first legally (of the paid variety) downloaded song was Evermore’s Light Surrounding You, sweet! And at a $1.79 per song…

How does $1.79 compare to the rest of the world? Well I’m glad you asked that question, here is a table of currency converted (using Apple Calculator, of course) prices for the US, UK, EU, Aussie, and ourselves, ordered by price.

Country Price point NZD$
US $0.99 $1.43
NZ $1.79 $1.79
EU €0.99 $1.91
AU $1.69 $1.93
UK £0.79 $2.26

Interestingly, and even after GST, we’re cheaper than all 4 stores bar the American one. Not bad at all.

Have you joined the iTMS already? What was your first song?

Posted in: Apple, Web

Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs

Only this doesn’t take place in a movie.

Posted in: Apple

A (never) play(ed)list

If you’re like me, you’ll probably have quite a large and varied MP3 collection. One where you’re not really aware of everything that is actually in your library and where it would take weeks or even months to listen to every song back to back.

How do you ensure you get at least a chance to listen to everything and indeed rediscover old favourites? Try this idea I learned from Trey while we were travelling.

In iTunes, create a new Smart Playlist and set the play count to 0.


Voila! You now have an instantly updating Never Played list. As soon as something is played to the end, it’s play count will update to 1 and it will thus be removed from the list. It’s a great way to work your way through your songs – I have (only) 5 days of music to get through now…

Posted in: Apple, Life

That’s a really expensive cat toy…

Posted in: Apple

Whacking your MacBook

This is too cool, via Dave5:

Posted in: Apple

Mighty mouse dissection


I’ve been noticing for the last month that my scroll ball on my Might Mouse was becoming slightly less reliable until it finally stopped altogether last weekend. I could scroll up, left and right – just not down (which is probably 90% of it’s use). So I pulled it apart with only a minor snap in the outer ring – this could’ve been avoided if I was a little more careful and patient.

Cleared all the grime and dust out of the ball mechanism and put it all back together. Works much better now only I need a little spot of glue for the outer ring.

Posted in: Apple

iPod reflection

SvN has a humourous little article on comments made in a Mac forum when the original iPod was released all those years ago…

An example:

“…it wont sell, and be killed off in a short time…and it’s not really functional…”

Obviously, 20/20 hindsight vision shows us how short-sighted these comments were but do you think it was really that unreasonable to say/think that all those years ago?

But, can you imagine how different the world would be if Apple had listened to those people? In many ways this is just a reinforcement that if you honestly believe in your creation, your idea to not listen or let yourself become influenced by people who cannot understand the true nature of it.

In saying that, there is ALWAYS a balance. Apple probably didn’t listen too much to to people when they created the Newton. And then it failed…

Posted in: Apple