Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring Tide

Sulfur mustard grass,
a chorus line across the shore
brilliance going through me.

I jumped from my car,
tore a bunch by its bare roots,
dipped grass in cold salt water

stinging my nostrils
as waves crowned me
with a splinter of diamonds.

And so it happened.
I stopped worrying about turning
into a neighbor's cul de sac,

Forgot about arriving on time
or if I'd selected a good bottle
for the table.

All that mattered as I huddled
inside the water's tongue
was the taste of thunder.

Friday, February 19, 2010


When you held a marble up to light
and watched the sun's rays pass
through the cat's eye
threw it down for trash
as it bounced along every step;
I thought maybe it had become too hot,
or maybe you didn't want to be chosen that way,
or maybe it has to do more with me, than with you.

A Developer Says Why She Thinks the iPad is a Raging Content Machine

In early 2007 Marine Leroux was surfing the Internet in her Paris, France apartment when she came across Apple’s announcement of the iPhone. She heard a click and it wasn't her mouse. Later she would say in her LinkedIn profile that her goal was to “become a user experience expert in Apple’s iPhone application design, worldwide.”

Leroux was a former head of International sales development for Adobe. She understood when Steven Jobs, Apple CEO, proclaimed at the MacWorld Conference & Expo 2007 that the iPhone, was “a revolutionary product that would change everything,” with a user interface design that combined Apple’s popular iPod music device with phone and Internet browsing capability

Fast forward three years later, when Jobs in trademark jeans and black t-shirt speaking at Expo 2010, positioned Apple as the “number one mobile device company in the world,” and announced another new offering from the magic software kingdom, the iPad.

This time many technology pundits didn’t exactly get the Big Fuss. (Look! It's a laptop, it’s a mobile phone, no, it’s an iPad!”) Giving a similar demo as the one he gave three years earlier, Jobs showed photos, movies, great album cover arts, but then so what? Many walked away saying that marketplace would be the iPad's final arbiter of success.

Those whose business is to remain in operating system know, whined about the inability to use and develop interactive Flash applications on the iPad, many developers pointing figures and accusing each other of just wanting to watch Flash porn on the Internet. Apple said that Flash just hogged too much OS memory, picked up its cookies and walked away.

Some developers like Jonathan Hollin on binarybonsai said, “I am genuinely at a loss as to just what all the fuss is about… an overhyped oversized iphone.”

Marine Leroux, the developer mentioned at the beginning of this entry, sees Apple's device as a new content delivery platform.  She has developed successful applications for the iPhone under the auspices of her company Leroux is also the founder of the iPhone Network Lounge in San Francisco, and a recent speaker at the Photoshop Developers Group talking about iPhone application development.

Carlos Icaza, co-founder and CEO of Ansca whose software, SDK Corona, allows developers to create iPhone and iPad applications more quickly rather than using the device's native language,  is on the board of directors of Bamboudesign. Backed up by compiled code, Leroux is passionate about iPad development possibilities.

“There’s an enormous opportunity here to make content a more engaging, compelling experience,” she said as we shared a cheese platter in downtown San Francisco. “This is a more powerful, portable device that includes iWork, which is Apple’s version of Microsoft Office applications Pages (Word), Numbers (Excel), and Keynote (PowerPoint).

Leroux is all for using the additional space of the iPad to create richer applications and said so in the New York Times following the iPad announcement. “When you’ve got more space, why not make the most of it?” Why simply port applications designed for the iPhone and iPod to a different device, she opined, when you can use the new platform to do something better?

 Leroux thinks that the larger iPad canvas with a great Internet browsing experience offers a chance to integrate more functionality onto fewer screens and to deepen the user experience. An example is embedding “GPS and other mobile technologies in one place.” 

She feels the real opportunity is for educational developers and publishers, particularly as the newspaper industry struggles to reinvent itself. With the iPad’s larger and superior display and 10 hours of battery life, Leroux sees the possibility of creating a “more intimate relationship between the user and an application.”

So as developers cozy up to the iPad, this new Swiss Army Knife of the mobile technology world, Leroux knows that as platforms come and go, there always will be game developers.

But she feels that the iPad will allow new content developers to reach a wider audience, including children.”This can be a Sesame Street for new learners, all learners.”

Find details of the next iPhone Network Lounge.


Lenore Weiss

Posted via email from techtabletalk's posterous

Friday, February 5, 2010

Design iPhone apps in Photoshop: iMartini or My Dry Martini?

All the pizza was gone by the time I managed to get to first Photoshop User Group meeting of the year at Adobe’s voluminous cafeteria located at 601 Townsend Street. It took awhile for me to drive across the Bay Bridge, a drizzly wet Thursday evening with both FastTrack and cash customers who were backed up behind the metering lights, my first attempt at driving across the Bay Bridge since a cable had snapped last Labor Day weekend with ensuing accidents over the bridge’s now infamous new structural “S-curve.” But tonight I was good. My GPS device was honed in on my target, I arrived in time to find a chair and hear surrounding chatter (“We stayed in Lisbon for three days. It was cold and rainy and there were a lot of cobblestones.”) I waited for the lights to go down, when two t-shirted men from Aquent, a talent agency, which had been responsible for providing the now empty boxes of pizza, gave a current job forecast and encouraged one and all to stop by after the meeting. Before they exited stage right, they offered a few job pointers which included: developing a good resume, calling your old employers “to be sure you’ll get a good referral,” networking with people at user groups and staying current and relevant. They closed with “Mobile is big. So are visual front-end developers and everything Flash.” Now it was Marine’s turn. She didn’t waste time getting started despite her wrestling match with a clip-on microphone. I’d met Marine last year at the iPhone Network Lounge, but since that time, Bamboudesign has been in the news, including the New York Times and Information Week as a leading new iPhone and a new iPad developer. Marine waltzed the congregation through the development of an iPhone application using Photoshop, a nice cocktail app giving users an idea how to mix up Martinis. What else would it be called but iMartini? She started off with her own set of pointers that sounded a lot like old school journalism’s “who, what, when and where”--know the objective of your application; who are its users; identify key task, use scenarios, and then finally, sketch out your screens that will be later morphed into Design Templates. It’s all about fundamentals and being organized. A former employee of Macromedia in a former life, Marine gave the dimensions of iPhone applications that are available in Apple’s UI Guidelines and SDK. In portrait view, they translate to 320 px by 480 px with definitions for the bottom menu bar of 44px that are roughly equivalent to the size of a male’s fingertip, she quipped. There are more definitions, but check the SDK. Sans serif fonts, like Helvetica is the one to choose, although Arial also will make the grade. Text should be in the vicinity of 17 to 22 px with other definitions for labels and list view. Forget to underline, that is don’t! Other specifications include using the image file type = PNG since these vector images have a better alpha channel with greater color depth; moreover, 72 dpi is totally acceptable for graphic resolution size. Now for a lego starter kit of free pre-fab iPhone graphics, Marine suggested two good sources and here are the URLies:

The rest of Marine’s talk would’ve made Benjamin Franklin proud. It was all about being organized, efficient, and frugal. She explained how to create a file structure of assets that included basic screens, templates, and screens that were unique to the application with PNG/PSD folders for buttons, images, labels, and whatever else you have hanging around. Layer and name everything in Photoshop, she advised, and, “Plan to have the status bar above the title because it’s more convenient for users.”Develop your PSD screens, PNG graphics (and don’t forget about developing your post-pressed buttons), screen flows, and specify your interaction. The last two steps, she explained, are largely for developers who get handed off the information. “Don’t let your developers guess,” she advised. “They’re very smart people, but not your typical user. Give them the full recipe so they can make the cake exactly the way you want it.” Tips from the audience included using Photoshop to create highlighted (action) buttons. Just “batch ‘em.” Also craigslist is a good place to find roaming developers. As for me, pass the Martini…

To contact Marine:

Lenore Weiss

Posted via email from techtabletalk's posterous