The Northern Spy: iOS 4, iBooks, Apple's special event
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Northern Spy: iOS 4, iBooks, Apple's special event

iOS4

iOS4 has recently been released to the iPod, providing the new features to a larger number of existing Apple customers. Of most importance to the Spy were multitasking and folders, the former in operational terms, the latter in organizational.

He wasted no time in reorganizing his five home pages down to two, with most applications in folders. To do this, hold a touch until the wiggle effect starts, then drop one app on top of another. A folder with both will be created, which can then readily be renamed to suit, and additional apps can be dragged into it. Most people will wonder how they got along without application folders.

Double clicking the bottom application switching button is now supposed to produce the multitasking bar, providing quick access to currently running processes. However, within individual applications the implementation of this feature is inconsistent. Even within the same application, sometimes a single press produces the task bar rather than a home page, and sometimes the double press does. The Spy assumes that individual developers have some work to do ensuring compliance with the changed interface standards.

One other thing to watch out for is that some apps crash under iOS4 when they did not under previous versions. Bloomberg's stock watching app is a good example. Press an exchange for more detail, then rotate to get the wider history graph. A screen press in this view is very likely to crash the application. The Olive Tree reader also crash-froze the first time it was used in iOS4. This could only be escaped by shutting the iPod off completely and restarting. The Olive Tree settings then had to be re-done.

Book, book, book

Apple's new reader, naturally called iBooks, was also recently made available on the iPod touch platform. This is good news, though not so much for now as for the future.

The Spy first tried some of the free novels. Given his own writing, he chose the SF category and downloaded half a dozen of the large number available. He finished none, and deleted all.

Next he had a look at the ones for sale. However, these were from the larger publishing houses for the most part, and were priced much too high. Hello, iSteve. $8.99 is a ridiculous cover charge for new eBook novels. Try under $5. Well, a few were cheaper, but the general run of prices was excessive.

Nice to see the Spy's own Alternate History Christian Science Fiction novels sneaking through via some of the retailers like SmashWords and at a decent price. Bully for them. Oh, and if you've not heard of a genre like that before, welcome to eBooks, where crossovers between and mashups of traditional genres are the norm, rather than the exception. Would that the selling sites all realized this and did their keywords accordingly.

Then the Spy asked the question: "How do I get .pdf files into the bookshelf?" This wasn't easy or obvious, even after Googling the matter and reading Apple's terse instructions several times. Turns out that you can't from the iPod itself. Instead, you must go to iTunes, turn on a preference for working with books, then use a menu item to add .pdf files located on the local drive (only).

After that you sync, and the books added to the iTunes library get added to the device and appear in the bookshelf. Then, it turns out that you have no choice of font face or size. Given that the .pdfs arrived on the iPod formatted too small to read, and that a magnification goes away when you turn the page, this is a clumsy way to read these files. In keeping with iSteve-esque practice, neither are there many other options. Hmmmm.

That led to the question: "How do you add books from the net, even from Apple's book store by using iTunes?" Turns out you don't, indeed can't. Only way to do that is by using the app on the device itself. Watch all those syncs. Don't want to lose anything.

Well, this thing sorta works, but given that there are several much more functional and better-thought-out general readers (Stanza, Fictionwise's eReader) and even more better (love that turn of phrase) specialized readers (OliveTree) already doing yoeman service on his iPod, Apple's effort so far rates perhaps a C+. The whole package of iBook and the way one uses it is very much a work in progress. Expect better in years to come, as this is definitely not eBook reading done as well as it could be.

Oh, and that's another thing. iTunes itself has always seemed rather clunky to the Spy. The longer he uses it, the more it seems to need a makeover. It's just not that intuitive or easy to use.

Another music event

Another music event was scheduled by Apple for September first, so is likely over by the time the Spy's reader is perusing these ramblings. No doubt this will be a music event, complete with yet another iteration of the iPod, perhaps a touch with more better features. Since he doesn't use his iPod for music (!!) his interest is minimal, but an iPod with a camera might be useful.

Speaking of new items, the Spy has ordered one of the new Mac Pro machines for his work desktop. He went for an eight core model and twenty-four inch screen, but with additional memory, internal drive, and interfaces of course ordered from a third party to avoid the exorbitant price Apple charges for extras. He'll let you know what he thinks of the new system over the next few months.

Why now? Because, first, he has a rule of thumb that he upgrades when he can get at least two to four times the performance; because, second, his Quad PowerPC was not only one of Apple's poorer machines (dodgy cooing, bad firewire implementation) but has now been left behind by the OS; and because, third, it looks like Office 2011 will have proper macro support and he can finally upgrade from version 2004 (which doesn't work under Snow Leopard). Everything is connected to everything else.

And also...

Under another hat, and as Arjay Web services, the Spy runs a web hosting and domain name business on a small scale. Gotta keep up with the Internet's plumbing, and what better way than by doing. Three years ago, this got him nominated and elected to the board of CIRA (the Canadian Internet Registration Authority--runs the .ca cc Top Level Domain). he won't upgrade his home machine to snow Leopard until he checks to make sure it all works. What can go wrong will go wrong, and in the worst possible and least expected way.
Well, his three year term of office is now finished, and, since he at least things he's done a decent job, he's of course running for re-election, this time as a member nominee, the election for which is in two stages. First, he needs twenty "shows of support" to get on the ballot, then he needs to win the vote over all the other candidates. If his reader owns one of the 1.5 million .ca domains, and is a member of CIRA (not automatic, one has to apply) and is interested in showing support, then later voting, he may go to https://elections.cira.ca/2010. If the process seems convoluted, welcome to the club. Elect the Spy and he'll continue to work on simplifying it.

Back to School, for yet another year in a couple of weeks. The Spy still enjoys teaching, and this year's courses -- Calculus, Software Engineering, Ethical Issues in Technology, and Discrete Mathematics -- are all old favourites. Hey, it's not too late to sign up at http://www.twu.ca and come to the frozen north for your degree.

--The Northern Spy

Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor and chair of Computing Science and Mathematics as well as Senate Chair at Trinity Western University. He is also on the board of CIRA, operator of .ca. He's written two textbooks and several novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to ArjayBB.com. Participate and you could win free web hosting from the WebNameHost.net subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe's fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Amazon's Booksurge.

URLs
The Northern Spy Home Page: http://www.TheNorthernSpy.com
The Spy's Laws collected: http://www.thenorthernspy.com/spyslaws.htm
The Spy's Shareware download site: http://downloads.thenorthernspy.com/

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.5 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
BusyContacts 1.0.2 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
Capture One Pro 8.2.0.82 - RAW workflow...
Capture One Pro 8 is a professional RAW converter offering you ultimate image quality with accurate colors and incredible detail from more than 300 high-end cameras -- straight out of the box. It... Read more
Backblaze 4.0.0.872 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac.With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Little Snitch 3.5.2 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Monolingual 1.6.4 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. If you use your computer in only one (human) language, you... Read more
CleanApp 5.0 - Application deinstaller a...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Fantastical 2.0 - Create calendar events...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event details... Read more
Cocktail 8.2 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Direct Mail 4.0.4 - Create and send grea...
Direct Mail is an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app purpose-built for OS X. It lets you create and send great looking email campaigns. Start your newsletter by selecting from a gallery... Read more

Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me... | Read more »
MLB Manager 2015 (Games)
MLB Manager 2015 5.0.14 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 5.0.14 (iTunes) Description: Guide your favorite MLB franchise to glory! MLB Manager 2015, officially licensed by MLB.com and based on the award-... | Read more »
Breath of Light (Games)
Breath of Light 1.0.1421 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1421 (iTunes) Description: Hold a quiet moment. Breath of Light is a meditative and beautiful puzzle game with a hypnotic soundtrack by... | Read more »
WWE WrestleMania Tags into the App Store
Are You ready to rumble? The official WWE WrestleMania app, by World Wrestling Entertainment, is now available. Now you can get all your WrestleMania info in one place before anyone else. The app offers details on superstar signings, interactive... | Read more »
Bio Inc's New Expansion is Infectin...
Bio Inc., by DryGin Studios, is the real time strategy game where you infect a human body with the worst virus your evil brain can design. Recently, the game was updated to add a whole lot of new features. Now you can play the new “Lethal”... | Read more »
The Monocular Minion is Here! Despicable...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush, by Gameloft, is introducing a new runner to the mix in their latest update. Now you can play as Carl, the prankster minion. Carl has a few new abilities to play with, including running at a higher speed from the start.... | Read more »
Dungeon of Madness (Games)
Dungeon of Madness 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon of Madness is an action game where you rotate tiles to create our own route. Help the hero by connecting the... | Read more »
Filters for iPhone (Photography)
Filters for iPhone 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Games)
Jump'N'Shoot Attack 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A mobile game for gamers! Join Louise Lightfoot, the legendary "Master of Jumping and Shooting", on her mission to save... | Read more »
Space Bounties Inc. (Games)
Space Bounties Inc. 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: SuperGameDroid: 4/5 "Satisfying futuristic RPG combat, high replay value, and a heavy dose of nostalgia make Space... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1019 $80 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more
Färbe Technik Offers iPhone Battery Charge LI...
Färbe Technik, which manufactures and markets of mobile accessories for Apple, Blackberry and Samsung mobile devices, is offering tips on how to keep your iPhone charged while in the field: •... Read more
Electronic Recyclers International CEO Urges...
Citing a recent story on CNBC about concerns some security professionals have about the forthcoming Apple Watch, John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the... Read more
Save up to $380 with Apple refurbished iMacs
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $2119 $... Read more
Logitech Says MX Master Is Its Most Advanced...
Logitech’s new MX Master Wireless Mouse incorporates the best of Logitech’s many computer mouse innovations into a striking hand-sculpted design. The company claims that the MX Master creates a new... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store lowered prices on Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs recently, with models now available starting at $679. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and... Read more
Mac Notebook Evolution; A Desktop Replacement...
More often than not right from the beginning, Apple’s Macs have tended to skew toward small. The original Macs were called “compacts,”, and notwithstanding a few exceptions like the honking Big Mac... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air (Apple refur...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Airs available for $759 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $240 off original... Read more
YEP! Alternative Browser for iOS Now Supports...
Pfaeffikon, Switzerland based Power App AG has announced the release of an update to their Yep! Web Browser (v1.3.0) for iOS8 iPhone and iPad. Yep! hit the App Store shortly after the release of iOS... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.