The Mushy-Vision Edition Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Apple Goes Mushy Part I: OS X's Interface Decline (Introduction), by Nicholas W. Howard

And I wonder again why the color vanished from almost every sidebar in the system: besides Finder, iTunes, iPhoto (before the new Photos application existed), Mail, and Contacts (back when Apple called it Address Book) have all succumbed to wan insanity. The Menu Bar selections in Final Cut Pro X highlight grey, not blue, when your cursor hovers over them. The majority of system applications greet you with vast canvases of nondescript white. Buttons are white. The Menu Bar is white. The Dock application labels are white. The cumulative effect is exactly the same as almost all popular interface designs today: everything is a stark, harsh, flat, alienating plane of white.

Apple has gone mushy on its entire vision. OS X is “simply” one stage on which that mushiness has played out. And we are just now entering the intermission

High Life

A New App Explores The Powerful Workings Of Skyscrapers, by Laura Bliss, The Atlantic

In a few light swipes and taps, users “create” a made-up skyscraper by adding floors and choosing the color of the facade. On the app’s sidebar, select a tiny I-beam button to play a game where adding boulders, elephants, and sailboats sinks your building deep and lopsided into its foundation. An elevator icon takes you to an interactive view of interior life—families in their kitchens, watching television, tiptoe-ing through bedrooms. The details are incredibly ornate, especially in another mode, accessed by clicking on a little water drop, where you clog toilets and set fires on different floors. Watch how the building (which gets an anthropomorphic touch) reacts. They say if walls could talk…

Photo Future

Lightroom For iOS 2.4 Changes Mobile Photo Workflow, by Jeff Carlson, TidBITS

When it comes to app updates, every new feature promises to be a game-changer, a revolution, the thing that elevates the app to new heights but often ends up falling short of expectations.

Sometimes, though, the hype is justified. That’s the case with Lightroom for iOS 2.4, Adobe’s mobile photo editing app for iPad and iPhone. Two new features — support for raw image formats and local adjustments — could change photographers’ mobile workflows for the better, particularly when you want to edit photos before you import them to the Mac.

Audio Future

How Invisibilia And NPR One Are Creatively Cross-promoting One Another On Digital Platforms, by Taylyn Washington-Harmon, Nieman Lab

But even without full access to the airwaves, NPR’s app and podcasts are busy promoting one another. A prime example: NPR’s highly successful Invisibilia, currently in its second short-run season. The podcast, dedicated to the “invisible forces that control human behavior,” is using NPR One as a home for bonus content not available in the main podcast feed, pushing the show’s fans to check out the app.

Coming Soon

New WebKit Policies In iOS 10 To Allow Autoplay Of Silent Videos In Safari, Pause Those With Audio, by AppleInsider

WebKit's new policies are crafted to take into consideration both the correct presentation of video elements and the costs of displaying those elements in Safari. As a result, WebKit will allow video elements to autoplay without a user gesture if the source media contains no audio track or if that track is muted. Once an audio track is detected, or if the track becomes un-muted without user intervention, playback will automatically pause. Playback also stops when the element is no longer visible on screen.

Catch 'Em All

The Libertarian Economic Theory That Might Be Secretly Driving Pokémon Go, by Ernie Smith, Atlas Obscura

Compare this to, say, a mixer during a business event. The approach is heavily designed, meant to bring people together in a somewhat contrived, forced way. If there's alcohol there, a giant room, and some name tags, clearly you'll talk to someone, right? As any wallflower will tell you, it often doesn't work out that way.

But with a design like Pokémon Go, there are no wallflowers, because everyone is brought together by a shared experience, one that appears on its own without any additional contrived strategies on the part of the creators of the game.


You, Too, Can Become A Keyboard Maestro, by Bob LeVitus, Houston Chronicle

I'd be hard-pressed to name another Mac app that saves me as many keystrokes every day.Simply put, Keyboard Maestro makes macros, but to call it a mere macro-maker is a disservice.

The Easiest Way To Sign Documents On iOS, by Brian Sutich, AppFactor

After having tried many of these apps, I’ve stuck with PDFpen from Smile Software.

Art View Is Worth A Look For Creative Cloud Users, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

It allows graphic designers to preview, inspect, and reveal dependent font and image files from within Apple's Quick Look preview feature.

Blocs 2 Review: Web Design App Balances Simplicity And Sophistication, by Nathan Alderman, Macworld

Blocs 2 remains a great option for anyone who wants to build a sharp-looking site with minimal hassle.

Polymail For Mac Wants To Provide A Cross-platform Email Experience To Die For, by Nick Peers, BetaNews

Polymail provides an Apple-centric experience across mobile and desktop through the use of an associated Polymail account. The account not only ensures a consistent experience across multiple devices, but it also powers some of Polymail’s useful features.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Taps Bob Mansfield To Oversee Car Project, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal

Bob Mansfield had stepped back from a day-to-day role at the company a few years ago, after leading the hardware engineering development of products including the MacBook Air laptop computer, the iMac desktop computer, and the iPad tablet. Apple now has Mr. Mansfield running the company’s secret autonomous, electric-vehicle initiative, code-named Project Titan, the people said.