The Retina­pocalypse: A Case Study

The ‘retinapocalypse‘ refers to a worrying new trend in web design which threatens to usher in a new age of information elitism. Its emergence owes itself to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets with high-resolution displays which can render text in crisp detail, arguably more legibly than print.

Graphic designers seem to have developed a form of tunnel-vision for these devices. Imagine their smug satisfaction as they recline their over-priced ergonomic chairs in a swanky over-styled Collingwood office. They’ve just spent weeks on the publication’s digital re-branding, involving countless hours staring into their 4K iMacs. It looks beautiful on their screen and fantastic in print, what could go wrong?

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Microsoft and Nokia

So Microsoft bought Nokia. I can’t say I’m surprised. It will be interesting to see if this can bring them back from the brink of irrelevancy. I love the look of Windows Phone as an OS, and have been quite outspoken on my anticipation for the Nokia Lumia 1020 as the ultimate travel companion. However, Microsoft needs to experience a fundamental attitude shift if they’re going to claw their way back into the mobile devices market.

The Apple vs. Android vs. Microsoft debate is thoroughly uninteresting. Each platform has their strengths and weaknesses. Apple got there first with shiny touch phones and pioneered the App Store business model. Google snatched up the software-only market by stealing Microsoft’s modus operandiā€”build the OS and the cheap hardware will come, along with butt-loads of market-share. Microsoft is kind of a wild card. They’re that arrogant corporate jock that storms in late and gate-crashes the hipster/nerd frat party. Google’s dominance and market share is quite straightforward. Android is popular, not because it’s good, but because it’s free and it’s “good enough”. The interesting debate, and the only one worth having, is about brand attitude.

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How to remotely shut down a Mac with AppleScript

Here’s a couple of simple AppleScripts to help you quickly shut down a Mac. This is handy if you are using it as a media center and want to shut down cleanly with one click, without picking up the keyboard or mouse, without logging in via Apple Remote Desktop, and without prompting for a password. I find a two-app approach works best as it gives you the flexibility to have a one-click dock icon on the target Mac as well as on the Mac you’re on, without too much redundancy.

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Reasons to Buy an iPad

Well folks, I’ve finally caved and ordered an iPad. After watching the entire keynote on YouTube, and all of Apple’s TV ads on their website, it got me thinking. There’s just so many voids in my life it can fill with an iPad because it’s just such an awesome product!

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How to fix AirTunes dropouts

A while ago I got an Airport Express to pump iTunes through my stereo and had a few problems setting it up. Rather than use it as an access point, I wanted it to act as a node on my existing wireless network. It supports this but I experienced frequent audio dropouts when using AirTunes this way. Forums suggested changing channels, unplugging cordless phones, moving access points etc. etc. and I tried all of them, and all to no avail.

The solution? Well I believe the problem stems from AirTunes using A LOT of bandwidth; 160 kB/s in my experience. I suspect this is flooding the wireless network as it has to go in 2 “directions”, i.e. from the MacBook to the router, then from the router to the Airport Express. So the solution I found was to disable the Airport Express wireless altogether and plug into my router using the ethernet cable. This eliminates one of the “directions” and so alleviates the flooding. The only problem others may see with this solution is that you need to move your broadband router next to the stereo. This isn’t a problem for me as it’s already there for the Xbox 360.

Now I can use my Airport Express for what it was intended, and it totally kicks arse. It’s just a shame Apple didn’t spend the time to test thoroughly in node mode.