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

Apple Digital Camera RAW Compatibility 6...
Apple Digital Camera RAW Compatibility update adds RAW image compatibility to Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11. For more information on supported RAW formats, see this page. Version 6.03: This update adds... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.4 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.1.4 - Create diagrams, flo...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
MegaSeg 5.9.5 - Professional MP3 DJ appl...
MegaSeg is a complete solution for pro audio/video DJ mixing, radio automation, and music scheduling with rock-solid performance and an easy-to-use design. Mix with visual waveforms and Magic... Read more
MarsEdit 3.6.8 - Quick and convenient bl...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.3 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Microsoft Office Preview 15.8 - Popular...
Welcome to the new and modern Microsoft Office for Mac. You will receive regular updates automatically until the official release in the second half of 2015. With the redesigned Ribbon and your... Read more
Yosemite Cache Cleaner 9.0.5 - Clear cac...
Yosemite Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. YCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.3.2 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.8 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more

Huge New Content Update to RuPaul’s Drag...
Huge New Content Update to RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0! Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 6th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Take a First Look at NaturalMotion’s Daw...
NaturalMotion has released a preview of their upcoming title, Dawn of Titans. Dawn of Titans immerses you in a world of fantasy as you build your kingdom, raise an army, and capture territories. The focus on this epic action strategy game was the... | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Warfriends is Something Famil...
GDC 2015 – Warfriends is Something Familiar That’s Also a Little Different Posted by Rob Rich on March 6th, 2015 [ permalink ] About Fun‘s upcoming Warfriends is quite the interesting hybrid. | Read more »
GDC 2015 – This is Why Everybody’s Talki...
GDC 2015 – This is Why Everybody’s Talking About Downwell Posted by Rob Rich on March 6th, 2015 [ permalink ] So Downwell. Holy crap. | Read more »
It’s Guild vs. Guild in Summoners War’s...
It’s Guild vs. Guild in Summoners War’s Newest Update! Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 6th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Toast USA’s Line-Up is Lookin...
GDC 2015 – Toast USA’s Line-Up is Looking Pretty Darn Cool Posted by Rob Rich on March 6th, 2015 [ permalink ] Guardian Stone Guardian Stone has been in the works for quite some time, but it’s finally getting close to a release. | Read more »
Heavenstrike Rivals: Beginners’s Tips, T...
Dig this: Would you like to know what we thought of this steampunk strategy game? Check out our Heavenstrike Rivals review! The Basics | Read more »
Bored? MyLeisure FreeTime Maximizer Will...
Bored? MyLeisure FreeTime Maximizer Will Take Care of That! Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 5th, 2015 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
New Publisher Allstar Games Heads West w...
Allstar Games has announced its first mobile title designed for western audiences, Allstar Heroes. The game will be a massive online battle arena (MOBA) that offers dozens of heroes for you to collect and pit against your opponents. As each hero has... | Read more »
RAD Boarding Review
RAD Boarding Review By Jennifer Allen on March 5th, 2015 Our Rating: :: NEARLY RADUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad RAD Boarding isn’t quite one of the greats, but it has potential.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

iOS 8.2 Coming Monday; Official Changelog An...
BGR’s Jonathan Geller reports that Apple will release an iOS 8.2 Final on Monday, presumably in conjunction with its scheduled “Spring Forward” special event. Geller also reports that he’s been... Read more
iBusiness Technologies Announces iReplenish t...
iBusiness Technologies, partnered nationally with Apple to provide businesses with iPad-based MobiliForms, has announced that for every system purchased it will plant 50 trees through The Nature... Read more
EnerPlex Surfr Battery & Solar Case for i...
Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. a developer of state-of-the-art, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules, integrated into the company’s EnerPlex series of consumer products, has announced immediate... Read more
16GB iPad mini 3 on sale for $349, save $50
 Walmart has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale on their online store for $349.99 including free shipping or free local store pickup. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available... Read more
Save up to 15% with Apple refurbished Time Ca...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
Save up to $105 on AppleCare Protection Plans
B&H Photo has 3-Year AppleCare Warranties on sale for up to $105 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - Mac Laptops 15″ and Above: $244 $105 off MSRP - Mac Laptops 13″ and... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 15-inch Retina Mac...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros, available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model,... Read more
Roundup of MacBook Air sale prices, models up...
B&H Photo has MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 128GB MacBook Air: $799 100 off MSRP - 11″ 256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100... Read more
New Firstrade Mobile App Enables On-The-Go Tr...
Firstrade Securities Inc. has announced its new mobile app, which gives investors immediate access to the company’s trading platform on all mobile devices. The app was developed in-house and was... Read more
Sonnet Introduces USB 3.0 + eSATA Thunderbolt...
Sonnet has announced the launch of its new USB 3.0 + eSATA Thunderbolt Adapter for easy connectivity to USB 3.0 devices and eSATA storage, and USB 3.0 + Gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt Adapter for easy... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant- Retail Sales -...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple 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
*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
*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
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.