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

1Password 6.8.5 - Powerful password mana...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.319 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.6.3 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more
Evernote 6.13.2 - Create searchable note...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
HoudahSpot 4.3.4 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a versatile desktop search tool. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot will immediately feel familiar. It works just the... Read more
calibre 3.14.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Evernote 6.13.2 - Create searchable note...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
calibre 3.14.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
HoudahSpot 4.3.4 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a versatile desktop search tool. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot will immediately feel familiar. It works just the... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.3.10- - Binary dis...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Sweety Kitty is an epic adventure for sw...
Join Sweety the Kitty on his journey around the world in Sweety Kitty, an all new match-three adventure full of colorful lands and tasty treats, developed and self published by Integra Games Global OU. Available now on both the App Store and Google... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
A new week means new deals on the App Store, and it looks as though Christmas has arrived a bit early this Monday with a whole slew of new discount games, many of which have yet to be covered in this roundup series. Puzzle games, point and click... | Read more »
CUPHEAD (Games)
CUPHEAD 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cuphead is a classic run and gun single player action game heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, the... | Read more »
Run Sausage Run! guide - tips and tricks...
Run Sausage Run! is a mildly sadistic endless runner in which you guide a sausage or any other variety of cured meat through a deadly meat factory full of sawblades and other hazards. Getting a high score in this game is no small feat, and will... | Read more »
WWE Mayhem guide - beginner tips and tri...
WWE Mayhem brings all of the familiar faces from your favorite wrestling league to mobile in this exciting new fighting game. Build up a team of your favorite WWE superstars and fight your way to the championship title, or battle against your... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
We've made it through another week, so let's treat ourselves to some of the best new games to launch in the past few days. It was another exciting week with some long-awaited indie games making their debut, and some big console titles making the... | Read more »
Match blocks to pull off dance moves in...
Ferdinand: Unstoppabull is a brand new match three puzzler based on the animated movie of (almost) the same name. As you can expect, you have to match blocks together to complete a bunch of puzzling levels and earn a high score. [Read more] | Read more »
Lineage 2: Revolution’s end of year upda...
Now available in 54 countries worldwide, Lineage 2: Revolution is continuing its global quest to be the most popular mobile MMORPG by launching a jam-packed end of year update. Complete with many subtle tweaks to help improve users’ online... | Read more »
The 5 best Star Wars games on iOS
The time has almost come.Star Wars: The Last Jedifinally hits theaters in the cinematic event that might be bigger than Christmas. To celebrate, we're taking a look at the best--and only the best--Star Warsmobile games to date. [Read more] | Read more »
Life Is Strange (Games)
Life Is Strange 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Life Is Strange is a five part episodic game that sets out to revolutionize story-based choice and consequence games by... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Holiday deals on 9″ Apple iPads: Resellers of...
B&H Photo has 9.7″ 2017 iPads on sale for $10-$50 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Overnight shipping is free, and pay sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 9″ 32GB iPad WiFi: $299, $30 off – 9... Read more
12″ and 10″ Apple iPad Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 10″ and 12″ iPad Pros on sale for up to $80 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Overnight shipping is free in many cases, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only. Note... Read more
Sunday flash sale: Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ea...
Amazon has Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones on sale for $199.99 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for Beats Solo3. Multiple colors are... Read more
B&H Holiday sale: MacBooks for up to $300...
B&H Photo has Apple MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and 12″ MacBooks on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only, and overnight... Read more
The lowest prices on Apple 13″ MacBook Pros t...
Save $300-$300 on the purchase of a 2017 13″ MacBook Pro this weekend with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. In many cases, Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model... Read more
Lowest prices of the Holiday season: 15″ Appl...
Save $360-$420 on the purchase of a 2017 15″ MacBook Pro with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. In many cases, Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model from any... Read more
Apple discounts Beats products by up to 30% t...
Apple has Beats by Dr. Dre (BeatsX, Powerbeats3 Wireless, and Beats Solo3 Wireless) on sale for up to 30% off their retail price from now until December 26th: – BeatsX: Was $149.95, now $99 –... Read more
Updated Price Trackers: Macs, iPads, iPhones,...
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: – 15″... Read more
How to preorder a new iMac Pro and pay zero s...
B&H Photo and Adorama are accepting preorders on multiple configurations of the new Apple iMac Pro. Both resellers charge sales tax for residents of NY & NJ only, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple Macs back in stock at Amazon with model...
Amazon has MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, MacBooks, and iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP as part of their Holiday/Christmas sale. Shipping is free. Note that stock of some Macs may come and go (and... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.