Ric Bretschneider

My thoughts in your brain…

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Take the Blue Pill…

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Just a reminder that this blog (at https://ricbret.wordpress.com) is no longer active and new content is appearing at http://blog.ricbret.com.

Please adjust your links and subscriptions as necessary to keep in touch.

You can subscribe to the active blog by going to http://blog.ricbret.com and using the subscribe control at the top of the page on the right.

And there’s a new entry there today! Kind of fun, maybe leading into something scary. I’m excited and hope you’ll check it out.

Oh, here’s a direct link! http://blog.ricbret.com/books/take-the-red-pill/

redblue

 

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Written by ricbret

July 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Leap Motion – First Impressions and Demo

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Leap_Motion

Postman bought my new Leap Motion controller this week.  Minutes after installing it (and figuring out I’d placed it on the desktop upside down!) it was up and working.  This video is my first few impressions of the orientation application and the OSX integration application.

Video is in high resolution so click the zoom button to view full screen.

So, will this be a permanent and well-used addition to my physical desktop?  Hard to say.  Right now it’s a real cool demo, and it’s got some potential, but the fine tuning will the real test here. Even games require an exacting “touch” that will hard to match. And the reality here is that if you really want to replace my mouse this new method to exceed my current input devices.

Leap_Motion 3

Does it do that?

No, not really.  But I hope it will soon.

Leap_Motion

How Screwed-Up is Apple Safari? I Think It Needs Therapy.

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Some people think that because I worked for Microsoft for so many years that I’m an Apple hater.  Well, that’s not actually true.  Fact is, I’ve had a Macintosh on my desks, at work and home, pretty much constantly since their release in 1984, two of my family members have iPhones, and we have iPads, iPods, and Apple TVs scattered throughout the house.  This is being written on a 27″ iMac, the one use for about 90% of my day.

OK, part of that 90% is in Parallels running various versions of Windows and Windows Office.

Unfortunately this post won’t help my argument that I’m an open supporter of both leading operating systems.  Partially because these days I’m finding Apple so caught up in their image, their products exclusively, that they’re impressing me as a bunch of pompous jerks. Doesn’t make me automatically hate the products, but I’m no cool-aid drinking fanboy.  Apple is doing plenty of crappy stuff to their customers, turning them more into consumers than unlocking their potential as creators is the big one.  However, I’m getting off the point.  Which is a case in point of how douchy and inept they can be.

Earlier this month I wanted to watch the Apple WWDC Opening that was streaming from Apple.Com.  However, if you weren’t using Safari as your browser, you were blocked. My default browser is Google Chrome. Yeah, if you weren’t going to wear their colors to the party, they shut you down at the door.

OK, I don’t like Safari myself. Apple claims it’s the #1 installed mobile browser, but they don’t tell you that you aren’t allowed to remove it from their mobile devices, and you can’t set a different browser as preferred on their mobile devices.  How’s that for anti-trust?  (Remember the US Justice Department vs Microsoft for “bundling” Internet Explorer with Windows?)   I think Safari is way behind Chrome in so many ways, and Chrome’s cross-platform support is superb.  So I don’t use Safari.  I keep it around when I have to access some non-standard Apple site, like the one in question.

So I manually fired up Safari and started watching.

I may find time soon to comment on how sad the state of design has gotten at Apple, this Ives guy really isn’t impressing me as anything more than someone trying to create a new fashion, not as a real product designer, but I’m getting off track again.

So I watched the list of features borrowed from other OS’s that Apple was rolling out as Innovations.  And at some point I decided to see if there was a way to pop-out the video window, so it would take less room on my screen and I could continue to work on things that actually mattered.  No button on the video, so I started hunting…

This is what I saw when I right-clicked the Safari-embedded video.

safari

OldMacIE

The disabled PowerPC version of Internet Explorer, that apparently still works it’s mojo.

Yeah, it was like some amazing wormhole to an alternate reality had opened up on my screen.  There was Safari suggesting that if I want to open this streaming QuickTime, I should use the Ten Year Old, PowerPC-only, Macintosh version of Internet Explorer.

Wow.

Granted, the old app is still on my machine.  But even Finder recognizes it won’t run in the current OS.  If you double-click it, you get the message “You can’t open the application “Internet Explorer.app” because PowerPC applications are no longer supported.

I’ve kept the old app, and a couple of others, around because I’ve considered creating a virtual machine running the old PPC supporting OS X, just thinking I might write about some history there and it would be an easy way to pose the screen shots I’d need.

But this was strange, and kind of pathetic Safari.  I’d almost feel sorry for you.  If you weren’t such a douche.

Written by ricbret

June 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Rotten Bitter Apple

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Update:

Word from comiXology now after many hand-wringing updates overnight is that Apple didn’t prevent comiXology from pushing to iOS apps, but comiXology made the call.  In a letter on their blog page, comiXology CEO David Steinberger noted:

After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.

It would be very interesting to know which policies, their actual nomenclature, comiXology was concerned about violating. Expect they were spot-on in their interpretation.  This smells of Apple making an exception after the fact to avoid bad press, and a small company falling on its own sword to keep in the fruit monopoly’s good graces.
Apple is a blatant censor, they just don’t want to be known as one.  Their role as a publisher who censors other publishers is a net-negative, regardless of the details.

20130410:12:45PM PST

Ric’ Originally Wrote on April 9th:

Apple Computer’s been pretty absurd about trying to prevent mature individuals from enjoying mature content on their mobile devices.

What’s so special about mobile devices? Nothing, except that Apple has implemented a file system and application system that they can control, they can prevent the user from using for any content. There is only content Apple approves of, on apps Apple approves of. And they’ve been your nanny since day one.

But now they’ve gone a little nuts.

a1Tomorrow, one of the finest comics available, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, will not be available in digital form on iOS devices. This is due to two “postage stamp sized gay sex scenes” that appear in the magazine. They’re kind of background images, literally like someone left a TV on in a scene, context is ambiguous and not flamboyant.

Still Apple takes umbrage, and is shutting down all iOS apps that might try to down the comic. No iPad, no iPhone, no. Because they’re trying to protect you from an image you can walk into any comic store tomorrow and buy without showing your driver’s license. And it’s not the first nudity or sexuality in the magazine. It’s undoubtedly because of the gay context that they get out their big censor stick.

This is a crime against art.

I’m not exaggerating, Saga is one of the best comic books available today. Smart, inventive, human, witty, lovely, and unique.

All things Apple used to be.

And now they’re just disappointing.

Written by ricbret

April 10, 2013 at 7:03 am

The Facebook Face Flip

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This is not a political post, although a quick reading without comprehension will surely give some that impression. Trust me, and read on.

I was reading this evening about how you can actually see people “unliking” Mitt Romney’s Facebook page in real time graphics on a web site called Disappearing Romney. It sounded pretty wild, and the graphics on the page were conceptually stunning, but the whole thing was kind of sophomoric.  It looked like it might have been a prank.  So I decided to check his Facebook page to see if their math checked out.

It did check out, was really easy to confirm with a couple of page refreshes. But that’s not what caught my eye.

You see, around 100 years ago I took both high school and college journalism. A lot of it stuck, writing of course, but also a lot in the area of page layout.  There’s one guideline that borders on being magic in making a page and subjects on the page look appealing and interesting.

If you have a photo, or graphic, where a subject is looking in a left or right direction, place that element such that it is looking into the page, away from the edge they’re nearest.  If you have to, you can consider “flipping” the element such that it can do this regardless of what side of the page it’s on.

(Pause here to note how well I’m avoiding unnecessary political metaphors. Thanks for noticing.)

Check out the original, and see what happens when you flip both the photos.  It really is like a magic trick!

Flipping the elements of Mitt Romney's Facebook page we come away with a completely different impression.

You always try to have faces looking into the page, it makes them look better, the page look better, and the reader feel better. In this case, we have original Mitt back-to-back, looking very disconnected, even defensive. Look at how flipping both photos around makes him look, well, happy to see himself.

Arguably the wider cover page might work in either direction, and if it were left right-facing the light sourcing for each of these photos would match up, but that’s not a big deal.  I personally liked them facing each other, but your mileage may vary.

And yes, this is eminently applicable to your presentations!  Ah! You knew I’d get there eventually!  It’s one of the simplest things you can do to make your slides look more intriguing, trustworthy, or even happy.

Anyway, it’s not like it cost him the election or anything, but I found it really amazing that nobody on his staff, or even Facebook friends suggested fixing this classic journalistic page layout gaff.

Yes, I am available for consultations.

Written by ricbret

November 13, 2012 at 7:12 am

PowerPoint History, 25 years ago…

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This has to be quick.  Sorry for any typos or errors, but I’m packing, medicating, and generally running about today and this could not wait.

I got a very nice letter from Bob Gaskins yesterday. If you don’t recognize the name, here’s a clue: He’s the guy who “invented PowerPoint”. Quotes are there because 1) there were a couple of other guys involved in the birthing process and 2) I think the product gets reinvented with every new release. However it was Bob who built the vision for the product and made it happen.

Bob’s written a new book, called Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint. He wrote it specifically to celebrate the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint. And I’m reading it right now (along with preparing for two separate conventions and five panels I’m on this weekend, I did mention running about crazily, right?).  So I’ll do more of a review later, but wanted to get this out to you, dear reader, because you’re special to me.

I’m really excited about this. Bob left just before I joined the team, and notes that fact on page 14, saying

Ric Bretschneider (Wizard #77) joined just after I left, stayed with the group for 17 
years (twice as long as I stayed)…

And of course there’s more, but you’ve got to read it for yourself or wait for my later review.  OK, one more thing, how’s this for a blast from the past…
It's kinda like looking at cave drawings....

It’s kinda like looking at cave drawings….

What else does it say?  What’s all that Wizard 77 stuff?  Well, you’ve got a chance to find out for yourself because it’s available on Amazon right now, right here:  Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint

I can’t wait to see how it ends…

This is so easy to do…

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There are some things that are such a pleasure to do, to pass along, to endorse… it kind of feels like cheating, like “duh” this doesn’t even have to be said.

Yeah, this is one of those.

I love the Duarte group.  Their talent, their staff, their ethic, their genuine passion, all so refreshing and inspiring. And when they produce something you, Joe and Jane Everyone, can hold in your hand for a couple of bucks, well that’s really cool.

Today Nancy Duarte announced on the Duarte blog the publication of the iPad version of their book Resonate.

And I’m going to stop right there. No further loving hyperbole.  No more glowing endorsement.  Just one instruction that will cost you absolutely nothing.

If you have an iPad, click here to get to the iTunes page. There it’s easy to download the free sample of a section of Resonate.  Watch that.  Read it.  You’ll be captivated from the first match strike, from the inspired visualization of how an idea travels between people, the power of a speaker and audience connecting, and then you’ll start to learn to do it yourself.

Yeah, that was really easy.

Written by ricbret

April 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm