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New Twitterrific Offers Ad-Supported Free Version

A new version of Twitterrific, the popular Twitter client for Mac OS X, was released today. The changelog details new features and improvements.

Twitterific Ad

The most glaring change, however, has to be the monetization scheme: either you pay $15 for it or you get an ad in your tweet list every hour. If there ever was a desktop application that could function as well on an ad-supported model as websites can, Twitterrific is it. The ads fit in so seamlessly and they're so not bothersome that it feels like Iconfactory could have gotten away with more ads. But I'll stop before I give them any more ideas.

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Steve Jobs' Open Letter to iPhone Customers

Less than a day since Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone would drop $200 to $399, Steve himself has posted an open letter to iPhone customers in which he states that Apple has decided "to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store."

This is an excellent move by Apple and quite possibly the best way they could have handled the PR nightmare that would have been the 250-500 thousand $599 iPhone owners. While it's not exactly $100 in my pocket, it is exactly $100 more than I would have expected to receive. Store credit doesn't cost Apple as much as face value, but it goes a long way to satisfy those customers that felt wronged (again, I don't consider myself in that group). In addition to the PR boost, Apple could also benefit from the incremental sales this $100 store credit would generate. As a prime example, I was looking to sell my iMac in anticipation of the refresh and to take advantage of the free iPod deal. Not having easily found a buyer and realizing that I didn't really need a new iMac, I gave up on the refresh. This newly-found $100, however, might just be enough to relight that fire under me and get me to buy a new iMac: Apple wins.

I applaud you, Apple. With actions like these, you will no doubt win many customers for life as you won me so long ago.

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Adium Reaches 1.0

My favorite OS X AIM client, Adium, has finally reached 1.0 after being in beta for over six months (I wrote about Beta 1 way back in July). I'm been using Adium since I first got a Mac way back in 2002, when Adium 1.6.2 ruled the world.

That's not a typo, the current, Adium X 1.0, is actually version 2.0. When the developers decided 2.0 would be a complete rewrite, they instead appended an "X" to the application's name and set their sights on a new 2.0.

I was just wondering when Adium would leave beta after receiving an upgrade notification for Beta 42 (!). Here are some of the major changes from 0.89 (the complete list is here):

  • Added global user profile and buddy icon settings. (Personal Preferences)
  • General Account improvements. Accounts can now be disabled when not in in use, and friends can now sign on from your Adium without saving their information.
  • Added an Xtras manager for better browsing and removing of Xtras.
  • Major improvements in privacy settings.
  • Improvements to the default look and feel of Adium.
  • iTunes integration is much faster, and updates as soon as the song changes.
  • Redesigned Chat Transcript (Log) Viewer
  • Optional dock-like hiding of the contact list
  • Requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later (Universal Binary)

I doubt I'll see many day-to-day changes since I've been keeping up with the betas, but for those of you running 0.89, this is sure to be a worthwhile upgrade.

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Vista out in 6 flavors, iPod shuffle in 5

To counteract the media frenzy Microsoft is unleashing to coincide with today's release of Windows Vista, Apple has quietly introduced 4 new flavors of iPod shuffle - blue, green, pink, and orange. Also new with this release is the inclusion of the new headphones that are standard with the 2G nanos and 5.5G iPods (the original shuffle came with the old-style headphones).

This marks the first time Apple has released an iPod in orange, and it's the color that has gotten the most talk in the online Mac community today, although it could be because AppleInsider was the first to have shots of the new shuffle and it happened to be an orange one.

The left side of my Apple in-ear headphones died again (that's the 3rd time) and I need to get them replaced. Hopefully Apple will replace them for free, but if not, a new shuffle is only a $30 upsell from the $40 in-ear headphones (or $40 from the regular headphones). That's not too bad, however unnecessary a shuffle might be at the moment…

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Convergence's/The iPhone's #1 Enemy: Gravity

This CrunchGear post on a fake iPhone that popped up on eBay reminded me of something that happened to me yesterday: I dropped my Treo. It broke into three pieces (battery, phone and battery cover), and the phone suffered no damage, but it could have been much worse.

Had it been an iPhone that I dropped, I would have not been out a phone, but also (as Steve has pointed out) an iPod and an "internet communicator." Knowing Apple's stance on accidental damage, I would also have been out $600. Also considering the many other ways the phone could find its way apart from you, and the idea of diversifying risk becomes more and more appealing.

Now that the effects of the RDF (reality distortion field) have subsided, I've become less and less interested in the iPhone. I think Apple made a big mistake by not even taking pre-orders immediately after the announcement.

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Apple Announcements Thoughts

I was going to do a regular "report the facts" post on Apple's announcements today but I was busy with submitting resumes and didn't have a chance to. So I'll just post my thoughts on the whole thing.

The 5.5G iPods are a solid upgrade, but Apple didn't really show much improvement for a the year span between the 5G announcement and their successors. Apple did let us lowly 5G owners have downloadable games (but only because they can charge $5 a pop for them) and the long overdue gapless playback, but would it really have hurt much to give us the search feature?

The new nanos look very nice and bring back a lot of memories from when the minis ruled the world. It's a great tribute to the colorful ones that'll be a whole lot less scratch-prone than the 1G nanos. With both the 8GB nano and 30GB iPod sitting at $249, it's makes the nano vs video decision a whole lot tougher. It is an excellent hedge move by Apple in that they are now that much more indifferent as to the sale of a nano vs a full-size iPod (differing margins notwithstanding).

By far the most revolutionary update is the shuffle. No longer is the iPod relegated to the pocket or an awkward armband. The combination of the clip and weight loss make it possible to carry the iPod shuffle, literally anywhere. You can carry 240 songs with you and not even notice. It's pretty amazing.

iTunes 7 saw a whole lot of improvements that will have varying effects on people's enjoyment of their media. The reorganization and segregation of different parts of the Source list make things easier to find, and the new-fangled UI theme is pretty and refined, but consistency sticklers will rag on Apple for introducing Yet Another UI Scheme™. The blue note in the icon pays tribute to iTunes 2, which also featured a blue icon. iTunes 3 had a purple icon and iTunes 4-6 had a green icon.

The iTV is interesting, and is essentially an Airport Express for video. The shots of the "enhanced" Front Row look great, but I'm wondering how well even the new 640×480 videos will look on HDTV (this also makes me wonder whether or not the 320×240 versions will get free upgrades to 640×480).

It really looks like Apple is setting up to take over the living room like they took over our ear canals. My only concern is that the whole iTV messes with my thoughts on Apple's future and makes me really wonder what kind of innovation they'll push forth on the desktop hardware side now that the Intel transition is over.

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Apple Releases Core 2 Duo iMacs

Apple released today their Rev. B Intel iMacs featuring the mobile Core 2 Duo processors. A 24" model was added to the lineup.

The new iMacs start at $999 for a very stripped version of the previous-generation 17" iMac. This iMac more closely resembles the education-only iMac as it lacks a Superdrive, discrete graphics, Bluetooth and Remote. The next model up is an $1199 17" model that is at a similar price point to the previous base model. The processor on this model gets bumped to a 2GHz Core 2 Duo with 4MB of L2 cache, comes with 1GB of RAM and the price drops $100. The 20" iMac gets a $200 discount, a 4MB/2.16GHz processor.

Added to the lineup is the $1999 24" iMac. The specs are similar to the 20" iMac except that the video card has been replaced with an NVidia 7300GT with 128MB of RAM. The 24" iMac also gives up a FireWire 400 port in exchange for a FireWire 800 port.

BTO options are abundant, with almost every part of the iMacs being customizable. The $1199 17" model can get a 2.16GHz processor as an upgrade for $100, while the bigger models can go to a 2.33GHz processor for $250. The video RAM can be doubled to 256MB on the 20" and the 24" can take a 7600GT with 256MB RAM for $125 extra.

In slightly less exciting news, the Mac minis have been bumped to 1.66/1.83 Core Duo processors. There is an special Apple event next Tuesday where the company is expected to announce the availability of full-length movies on the iTunes Music Store.

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Nintendo Revolution Renamed Wii

The official Nintendo Revolution website has announced that official name of the Revolution will be Wii. While I think Revolution was a cool enough name (and the abbreviation RS nicely watched the DS), and aside from all the PS/XBox fanboys making wii-wii jokes, it is an alright name. Nintendo has gone out on a limb with the focus (originality over graphics) and the controller and the name is just a reflection of this.

One thing is for sure: the Google Juice will be strong with this one. Since 'Wii' is not a real word, even just a little press will jump Nintendo's 'Wii' straight to the top of search results. Compare this to 'Revolution' which would have to compete with the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, et al for Google pole position.

Update: Chris Kohler at Wired posted a more in-depth defense of the 'Wii' name. He basically argues that Wii doesn't sound anything like a video game, and that's what Nintendo is trying to do with the system – make it like no other video game system ever.

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Rails 1.1 is out

DHH has posted to 37signals' Signal vs. Noise blog that Rails 1.1 is out, with a host of new features. Every new feature in there seems to have come out of a need for it in a real-world app. Instead of adding in things that they think developers might use, they added things that they know developers will use (because they themselves as developers have used it). Brilliant.

I think what I'll like the best is RJS (Javascript written in Ruby) since I never really picked up Javascript. I just wish I had the time to actually try this stuff out…

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New iPod, iMac and iTunes Released

Apple's big "One more thing…" media event that I mentioned last week took place today at the California Theatre in San Jose. Here's a recap of what was announced:

  • New iMacs with built-in iSight video camera and remote control. New software called PhotoBooth takes advantage of the new camera by simulating old arcade photo booths with a countdown timer, "flash", and real-time effects. Another piece of new software is Front Row, a Windows Media Center-type application that gives an iPod-like interface to the music, photos, and videos on your Mac. Also comes with a remote control with 6 buttons that looks just like the iPod shuffle with an extra menu button. In addition, the iMacs feature slightly upgraded processors, a SuperDrive standard and PCI-Express graphics (the first Mac to feature PCIe) for the same $1299 for the 17" and a $100 lower price for the 20" ($1699).
  • New iPods in 30 and 60 gigabyte models featuring 2.5" 320×240 pixel screens and offer video playback. They look like larger nanos but are much smaller than the previous generation iPods. Both models are now under .5" thick. Like the nano, they include the World Clock and Screen Lock apps and come in both black and white.
  • iTunes 6 released 5 weeks after iTunes 5. Some minor UI issues were fixed (anti-aliasing of window corners), but the main feature is support for video syncing with the iPod (one of the iTunes 4 point releases supported video playback in iTunes itself). In addition, the iTunes Music Store has a few new features, including the ability to give music, a "Just For You" recommendations section, customer reviews, and support for the sale of videos. Music videos and Pixar short films are just $1.99 each. Apple also announced a partnership with Disney (parent company of ABC) to offer 5 TV shows for sale, including Lost and Desperate Housewives. The shows also go for $1.99 an episode and new episodes are available the day after they are broadcast. Previous seasons are available also for $1.99 an episode or $35 for the entire season.

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