a glob of nerdishness

January 29, 2010

A story NOT about iBooks.app

written by natevw @ 10:35 am

Some fellow perfects the bound book. He threatens to have drawn and quartered anyone who tries to make a similarly improved book. Then he says to the writers, “If I like what you write, I’ll bind it as one of my books and give you most of the profits.”

Some experienced writers say, “Silly books, clay tablets are so much better at knocking sense into people. Part ye from my paddock, fellow!”

But this man’s books are very well made. And so long as you don’t write a sequel to one of his own stories, or speak against his friend the mayor, you can make a good bit of money writing bound books. Most writers respond, “Books are clearly the future, and look how good they are for the readers!”

But there’s this other crowd. They’re not really writers, because they spend most of their time patting themselves on the back and talking about politics and how the future isn’t clay tablets or bound books, because papyrus scales so much better. Some of them are stitching their scrolls together so they can be read kind of like books. These scroll-books are a bit awkward to page through, but you can read them in any library branch and even sign some of them out for a few weeks.

Now the interesting part of this story is that scrolls and, by extension, scroll-books can actually be used on clay tablets and between any sort of book cover, including our book-binding fellow’s. The analogy is falling apart now, so I’ll finish explaining my previous post more directly.

No cheap, flimsy Chrome OS netbook will have more necessary features or be more pleasant to use than the iPad. I am also sure that native, platform-specific applications will always be superior to web-apps. What I am saying is this: until we can develop native iPhone/iPod/iPad/iPony applications with our First Amendment rights intact, making “native Chrome OS applications” (i.e., web apps) is the only way to publish independent software for Apple’s newest and best devices.

January 28, 2010

A Gradual Divestment

written by natevw @ 10:13 pm

I’ve been thinking about the last two years’ investment on a number of levels. Regarding the platform I chose, I’ve been struggling to find the right words for several months. I came across them today, at the end of a dead-on post by Alex Payne:

Wherever we stand in digital history, the iPad leaves me with the feeling that Apple’s interests and values going forward are deeply divergent from my own.

I’m most energetic while inventing a self-contained tool to improve some aspect of life. Writing native software for OS X was a dream come true. I hope the Mac’s open platform has many good years left, but it’s time I learn to enjoy building native software for Chrome OS as well.

January 22, 2010


written by natevw @ 8:33 pm

It’s been a busy week!

The biggest event was announcing the departure of my friend and Calf Trail co-founder Hjon from the company. It’s been in the works for a while, but this week we officially transferred the iPhone half of our work over to Hjon’s new LLC: Pseudorandom Software. (If you use FogBugz, be sure to check out his great Inbugz app. Despite keeping busy with other jobs, he’s got some useful new features in the works.)

The other big announcement was Sesamouse, a free utility to send real gestures and touches from the Magic Mouse. Translation into dev-speak: Sesamouse gives legitimate applications access to the Magic Mouse’s otherwise-crippled multitouch hardware features. It contains the private/undocumented API gunk within its own process, interpreting gestures and sending the system its results. Applications that use the publicly supported NSEvent and NSTouch APIs then work with the Magic Mouse automatically. Accomplishing this involved many hours staring at hex dumps and learning to read assembly, with a helpful boost of UTSL. Quite a fun challenge!

In the midst of all this, I also made some great strides on another iPhoto-related app this week. It currently lacks the finishing touches, but my wife and I already have fun testing it. Plans call for a beta release next week.

I’m hoping to give Calf Trail’s lineup of Mac products a big boost during the early part of this year. That way, even if sales don’t pick up, I’ll have some good stuff sitting out there while I’m busy finding paid work. I’ve been thinking a lot about the last two years’ investments…but that’s a topic for another post.

January 5, 2010

Jorb application

written by natevw @ 6:20 pm

It’s a gracious privilege to be reminded of the coming of our Savior one week before a new year begins. I needed a silent, holy night to shed a little light into my valley between decades.

Despite all that’s on my mind, I’m not ready to write. Even — no, especially — about past and future technological investment. I remain incredibly fortunate in many many ways, but there’s this malaise. Frustrated undertones host subtle lies. So in lieu of 2009 in review or resolutions for 2010, here’s a message from the sponsor here at a glob of nerdishness. DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL.

Not code monkey nor offshore,
I build software: Hear me roar!
Servers, browsers, small chips and multicore —
Cocoa's great but I shun The App Store.

My rates are low, I'll tell you why:
I live and learn and time sneaks by.
Give me freedom to explore;
you'll find that I deliver more.

I cannot work the nine to five
'cause I've got other things to keep alive.
But if by email the tasks arrive
I could help your project thrive.

It’s cheesy because it’s true. Contact support@calftrail.com if you’re in need of some custom programming work and think I might be good fit. *cue outro jingle*