I’m not a big fan of this anti-Flash movement. I think it has been sensationalized because everyone in the media loves a good battle. Now that Steve Jobs has come out punching, it’s the cool thing to bash. Don’t get me wrong, I think Flash is over-used, and is certainly more resource intensive than it should be… but the “battle” is blown out of proportion.
What I do like, however, is statistics. And this is a pretty damning one.
While benchmarking the new 2010 Macbook Air, Ars Technica found that web browsing without the Flash plugin installed resulted in 2 more hours of battery life. That’s a big deal. It’s the numerous Flash web banners that load on websites, sucking up your valuable CPU cycles and burning through your battery. As I was reading the Ars Technica story, I noticed two animated banners running. My only goal is to read static text, not watch a video or listen to audio.
Uninstalling Flash isn’t the solution, at least not until alternatives like HTML5 have put the nail in the coffin. A great thing you can do, however, is install a browser plugin that will keep Flash elements from loading until you need them. Flashblock (for Chrome, for Firefox) and ClickToFlash (for Safari) should help you get those 2 extra hours out of your battery.
I really enjoy documenting my computer setups, I imagine much like people enjoy taking pictures of their family as they grow and age. Seriously though, it’s just such a big part of my every day life, I think it’s interesting to be able to review the way that the tools that enable my workflow change over time.
For as long as I’ve owned a computer, I’ve always had a desktop as my primary machine. At times, I’d augment this with a secondary desktop (I kept a Windows desktop in my design studio for a couple years) and my 12″ Powerbook which served as a mobile workstation for web/communication/photography duties. I experimented with several tools such as Continue Reading →
In Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, Apple had a nice detail in the GUI, rounded corners on the screen. The rounds were small, but simulated the rounded corners of older CRT monitors on modern LCD displays. To me, though, the rounded corners meshed well with the precise radiuses that adorn the corners of Apple hardware. Apple got rid of this detail in Mac OS 10.5 Leopard and left a hard 90Âº corner with no artificial radius.
Tonight I came across a small application by Many Tricks (you may know them from their popular application launcher Butler) called Displaperture that adds radiused corners back to Leopard. An added bonus, you even get control over the size of the radius, and you can scale it from barely visible to impractically intrusive.
Considering that every Apple device sold today runs a LCD display, using this application may seem like a step backward. However, the effect looks GREAT on the new Macbook screen with it’s borderless black bezel. Setting a tight radius on the corners of the screen gives the bezel a consistant and polished look. Below you can see a picture of the effect on my Macbook Pro. It’s not for everyone, but it’s great to see such a simple free tool to set the effect.
You may remember Axiotron from when they released the Modbook, a portable tablet computer built around a hacked up 13″ Macbook. With a professional quality pen tablet screen the Modbook became a subject of lust for many designers and artists that have been forced to turn to Windows systems for a portable tablet.
Now that Apple has released the new line of Unibody Macbook Pros, Axiotron has stepped up to release the Modbook Pro, another portable tablet built around the guts of a 15″ Macbook Pro. The system is more powerful and has a bigger screen, but that’s not what has me most interested in the unit.
A major downfall of traditional tablet computers is that you lose many of the keyboard access you need for shortcuts and modifier keys while working in applications like Painter, Photoshop, Illustrator, Rhino, etc. Axiotron is trying to overcome this with the Modbook Pro though, touting their new Synergy Touch technology. This technology lets you use the pen while also using your fingers for touch input at the same time. System software overlays keyboards, numpads, or shortcut keys in floating transparent panels so that you can hold down modifier keys while giving input with the pen. If this works as well as they say it does I believe it could change the tablet industry. I’d love to see them license the technology out to other tablet manufacturers or even Wacom for use in the Cintiq line of displays.
As far as how they’re accomplishing these two input methods at once… I’m assuming it’s a capacitance touch setup for the hand input, and the typical RF Wacom technology for the pen. They must have a threshold set on the capacitance input to ignore a surface area much larger than a couple fingers, otherwise the palm of your pen-hand would be delivering all sorts of false input while you operate the pen.
The Modbook Pro is a pretty hefty investment at $5,000, but I imagine there are a few professionals who will see the pricetag as a bargain for such a mobile workstation. It will be interesting to see how Axiotron does with this product, and what else they’ll come out with.
Here’s a nice unintended benefit of having multiple devices wrapped in the same material. Both my iPhone and Macbook Pro have skins on them from www.bestskinsever.com. (So does my DS) Highly recommended skins, though you need a mind for detail when installing them. Especially when you’re installing sheets as large as the ones for the Macbook Pro’s lid. It gets a bit tricky, but well worth it!