Monthly Archives: February 2015

Twitter, buy Path

Here’s another of my strange acquisition desires; Twitter should buy Path.

It seems, for some strange reason, there’s a bit of Facebook envy at Twitter. Maybe media reports just make it seem that way, maybe it’s true, I don’t know. One thing is for sure, Twitter lacks certain functionality. I think Path could give them some of that functionality.

Path is a much better version of what Facebook would like to be on mobile. Path is beautifully designed, easy to use, and limited to following a small set of people. You can still share your Path adventures outside your immediate network, but your timeline is limited inside the application. It’s perfect. Not only is Path a better Facebook, it’s also a darned good replacement for Instagram. The photos feature is solid and it has all the nifty filters people have come to expect in applications (if you need more filters you can always get them via extensions.)

Another nifty addition would be Hipstamatic. I love this funky camera app but a lot of what it does could be redesigned as an awesome set of extensions (I could be very wrong about that.)

The bottom line is, Twitter could get a lot more functionality with the purchase of a single app.

The Lifestyle Business

Medium (“Unicorns vs. Horses” by Andrew Wilkinson): “They don’t need to be first, second, or even tenth, in their space, and have instead chosen to focus on a small percent of a massive market. They answer to customers, not investors, and focus on making their employees, customers, and themselves happy. They’re thoroughbred horses, not unicorns, and it’s time we start paying attention to them.”

I can think of a couple businesses right off the top of my head that fit this mold, I work for one. Panic, Big Cartel, and The Iconfactory all fit this mold.

This seems the proper way to run a business. I like that it’s about the customer and the employees, not about the investor. Having a little, privately held, business that changes the lives of others seems a nobel goal.

Detroit

All Day: “Detroit is now a ghost town with more than 70,000 buildings, 31,000 houses, and 90,000 lots empty or vacant. In 2010, a plan was proposed to bulldoze a fourth of the city in an attempt to concentrate the populated areas. Currently, homes sell at an average of $7,500, with some going for less than $500. “

I can’t convince my lovely wife to move to Detroit. Wonder why?

Crazy Prediction (A.K.A Wishful Thinking)

On occasion I think how interesting it would be if certain companies acquired other companies. Here’s one I’ve thought about quite often.

AHHHHHH!I’m a big fan of The Iconfactory. I use Twitterrific every day, as well as xScope. Both are beautifully designed products and easy to use. I’ve been thinking for a very long time, Apple should acquire The Iconfactory. Not just for their products, for their design and engineering talent. I think they would have to discontinue many of their products, like Twitterrific, or find a buyer for them, but xScope could be given away as part of the Xcode development suite and they will have gained a great design and engineering team. One that gets Apple.

Movie line of the week

Watchin' it on the big screen!Well, it’s not so much a “Movie line of the week” as it is a random post with a movie line. I haven’t done this in so long, and it’s Thursday, I thought I’d drop a line on the world.

Here it is, good luck.

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

Ok, quick, what movie! Send your guesses here.

AppKit is to the Windows API…

OMG NEW FRAMEWORK!

Will write C/C++ for foodThere was a lot of buzz generated around the discovery of a private framework, called UXKit, that shipped with Apple’s upcoming Photos for Mac app. Like many others I initially thought “It’s about time.” Then I started thinking about the transition that happened when Microsoft created C# and .Net. At the time we had the Windows API and our trusty C/C++ compiler. At the time .Net shipped in early 2002 we were still building desktop applications, the web was moving forward, but not at the pace it is today. Microsoft shipped WinForms, which was pretty much a straight wrapping of the Windows API’s for .Net developers. The point is, Microsoft gave developers a way to do stuff with the new language and runtime that could get them up and running quickly. The environment was different, but the API’s felt familiar.

Moving Forward

In 2006 Microsoft released a new framework called WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation.) This new framework made use of DirectX so rendering the user interface was hardware accelerated, along with other nifty stuff. As far as I know this was the last major framework Microsoft created for desktop developers. Since that time web development and Surface (Metro) seem to be their primary focus. (Someone please correct me here, if this is not accurate. I’m not that dialed in to Windows desktop API’s any longer.)

The point is, Microsoft went through this weird transition from the Windows API to a intermediate (WinForms) to their final desktop UI framework over the course of four years. Creating new technologies and frameworks is hard. They take time, but Microsoft is good at API’s, and they’re very good at maintaining them and providing developers an upgrade path. This is, I believe, where Apple is today. They’re in that awkward period between AppKit and whatever is next.

Enter Swift

In the summer of 2014 Apple gave developers a great surprise at WWDC. They introduced us to a new language; Swift. Since that time Apple has created a weblog dedicated to the language and shipped Xcode 6 with full Swift support. At this point in time it seems like Apple is pushing hard for iOS and Mac developers to adopt Swift as their primary development language. They seem to be “all in.”

Get to the point

Long story short. Do I believe UXKit is a future version of UIKit for Mac development? No, I don’t. I believe it’s a private framework created by the Photo’s team (or another team) to allow them to share a bunch of code with the iOS counterpart. It makes sense. Apple traditionally operates very lean. They have very small teams, so they need to work as fast and smart as they can. If they have a framework that allows them to share more code, it may allow them to move more quickly.

Ultimately I believe we will get an entirely new framework. Built from the ground up using Swift. I suspect that framework will aim to share code between iOS and Mac where it makes sense, and diverge where it doesn’t. The overall feel will be the same for both platforms. It will be unified.

I love thinking and writing about future technologies. I’m rarely ever right in my guesses (see my musings on WinRT), but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

Visio Mac? No.

David J. Parker: “My fellow Visio MVP, John Marshall (see https://johnvisiomvp.wordpress.com), pointed out recently that Lucid Software claim to have a Visio for Mac application that offers import and export of real Visio files.”

This comes up every now and again. I have wanted Visio on the Mac for a very long time, but we already have it. The fine folks at The Omni Group created OmniGraffle so the Visio team wouldn’t have to port to the Mac.

There was, of course, a port of Visio to the Mac Classic at one time. It never saw the light of day.