17 Nov
   Filed Under: Apple, Design, Interface Design, Personal Work   

Perhaps you’re aware that you can connect to a Mac back home with Back to my Mac, a service offered by MobileMe. When I heard of this feature, I did some reading and set everything up right, but I just couldn’t get it to work. I think Back to my Mac is a really cool idea, but it could use some work. It could even tie very well into Apple’s possible new tablet-sized device.


Enter MobileMe Home. After entering your MobileMe credentials on your Airport or Time Capsule, your network becomes accessible when you’re away from home. No enabling settings in some tab in a preference pane or forgetting to put a file on your iDisk: you can connect back home from anywhere with the Finder on your laptop, with an iPhone app, and from public or other computers through the MobileMe web interface.


MobileMe Home’s web interface allows you access to your Mac’s files, use a web-based client to do simple screen sharing, stream a few songs or videos from your iTunes library, and locate, wake, sleep or shut down your Macs from anywhere. On any Mac or iPhone, you can connect to your network to do all of the above, and more, like connecting to a non-Mac server or device on the road.

Even better, since your laptop (and possibly tablet) get on the move, you can track its location thanks to Snow Leopard’s Core Location features.

Check out a larger size of my rough MobileMe Home mockups at Flickr by clicking the preview below:


MobileMe Home is not an official Apple product, nor do I know anything of planned features of MobileMe. You should consider this an idea, or perhaps even a dream, seeing how technically MobileMe Home would probably be incredibly hard to implement. I just wanted to share it with the world.

11 Sep
   Filed Under: Apple, Interface Design   

It’s that time again: A new big cat is upon us, and while it hasn’t brought about the rumored ‘Marble’ aesthetic, there’s been a lot of enhancements, tweaks, and improvements to the user interface and graphics of Mac OS X 10.6, commonly known as Snow Leopard.

After a huge release like Leopard, which brought very radical change to the way our favorite OS looks, feels, and works, including a complete redesign of its icons and UI ‘theme’, Snow Leopard’s (incomplete) roundup of UI changes can only feel minor. Nevertheless, it shows some beautiful classroom examples of what composes true attention to detail.


Since Snow Leopard has quite a few interface changes and tweaks, I’ve organized them into four sections. I’ll kick off with the most visible changes, and round the article up with (very) minor tweaks that are hardly noticeable, but show us that Apple still hasn’t lost its touch.

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09 Jul
   Filed Under: Apple, How-To   

Since I recently stopped using an old and dented Macbook Pro that was otherwise perfectly working as a computer, I tweeted about having turned it into a media, file, and Bittorrent server. I got a lot of responses asking for my setup, so here’s a guide for turning a Mac that would otherwise gather dust in disuse into a useful server.


My primary demands were gathering content from the internet through FTP and Bittorrent, serving them up to the Macs and Playstation 3 on the network through streaming, and function as a secure public-facing server so I can log in and grab some files when I’m on the go.

I’ve divided this post into three sections, dealing with getting stuff, serving up stuff, and all the nice other things you can do with an always-on Mac. Note: I will not be liable if you melt, damage, or hurt your old Mac in the process of following this guide.
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21 Jun
   Filed Under: Apple, Interface Design, iPhone   

There’s been so many iPhone OS 3.0 feature roundups that I’m not even going to bother doing a roundup of UI changes, as most users are quite familiar with this newest version of the iPhone firmware already.


This is a post about the details, but there’s a few things I won’t go into. For instance, please don’t get me started on those pinstripe icons. Seeing them on a huge banner at WWDC was painful enough, and then having to recreate the same stripes for this blog post’s graphic was the proverbial needle under my fingernail.

However, it’s worth a blog post to look at those nice little touches that have been added to the already impressively well-designed iPhone UI.
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24 May
   Filed Under: Apple, Icon Design, iPhone   

iPhone icons are gorgeous. The home screen is a beautiful display of icons that have been extremely carefully designed to achieve a stylistic balance. On the desktop, the same applies, but icons have far less ‘rules’ imposed on them, and are generally very diverse in their appearance. One could conclude that there is less consistency in the design of desktop icons than there is in iPhone application icons.


As a result, icons in the Mac OS X dock also generally have less trouble looking good and blending in with the system icons. There’s simply more room for creative freedom and slight stylistic differences. The iPhone is a different story. I keep all third-party application icons (apart from a few notable exceptions) off my home screen, because they stick out like a sore thumb. Why is this, when it is so seemingly simple to fit into the consistent design standard, and what can Apple do about it?
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17 Mar
   Filed Under: Apple, Design, Interface Design, iPhone   

Apple’s iPhone software 3.0 event came and went without a mention or hint at new hardware. There have been a lot of rumors about a possible new iPhone, and a lot of these rumors assumed a potential connection between this new software for the iPhone and the new hardware, which could be unveiled around the time of WWDC this year.

I posed a question on Twitter earlier today, and since there’s (unsurprisingly) been no mention of it today, I wanted to get my thoughts down on this difficult issue Apple faces when it comes to the future of the iPhone platform. At some point in the future, iPhones and iPod touches will get a better screen, with a better resolution. A good example is the move of Apple’s flagship notebook, the Macbook Pro 17″, from a 1680 by 1050 pixel resolution screen, to a high-DPI (dots per inch) screen boasting an impressive 1920 by 1200 pixels. The screen remained the same size in inches; it just packed a lot more pixels in each inch of screen size.

This happens in the arena of mobile devices as well. Some modern cell phones feature screens with a massive resolution of 800 by 600 pixels; comparably, the iPhone offers a ‘meagre’ 480 by 320 pixels. In the future, Apple will change to a better (not necessarily ‘bigger’) screen, and developers of iPhone apps will face a huge issue: how do we scale the interface?

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