How Do I Prevent Image Capture from Opening?

Image Capture, an otherwise useful utility for scanning, is not something I want to have starting up every time I connect my iPad. So given that it’s a Sunday, I decided to do something about it.

Obviously, my first port of call is no longer my wits or my guile, but Google and it’s always interesting to see which suggestions that now venerable tool throws up before I complete my entire search term.

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Facebook obviously has bigger problems on their hands than their IPO it seems, look at the company they appear to be keeping.

Back to Image Capture, it seems this is all one has to do:

First, click the little up arrow / triangle icon at the bottom left of the window.

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Then click on the drop down.

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And finally, set it to start-up silence. 

Screen Shot 2012 06 17 at 12 36 35

So is there anybody who likes the Facebook Timeline?

Paper vs Penultimate

Commenting on Evernote’s acquisition of Penultimate, John Gruber says:

Penultimate is a great app, but I think it’s been eclipsed by Paper.

Having bought just about every note-taking app for the iPad, I have to say that Paper is not without its flaws.

  • It’s pretty useless without the full in-app purchase of around ten dollars, which makes it more expensive by quite some margin than the competition, though hardly a stretch given that most writers, myself included, won’t hesitate to shell out more for a Moleskine or three.
  • The performance leaves something to be desired, even on the new iPad, with initial strokes being missed or messed up.
  • It doesn’t work well at the edges. Try starting a stroke near the bottom and sliding up and the slide out tray keeps coming up. This means you get the illusion of a blank slate, but the behaviour of the pen is inconsistent across the whole page area.
  • The page turning that apes a BlackBerry PlayBook bezel gesture doesn’t always work, causing unwanted marks to appear.
  • The “rewind to undo” mechanic is flakey, when you don’t get this right, you leave a mark on the page, when you do, it’s not clear how much undo history you have and the granularity is tough to predict.
  • The orientation is forced to landscape. That makes it very hard to use without a stand. 
  • The centrefold is implicit, but sometimes, you really want it to be explicit to match up with the zoomed out view, just in case you are interested in writing on “both sides of the page”
  • Penultimate handwriting is always silky smooth. There is nothing more important than this, not even the admittedly beautifully thin strokes allowed by Paper.
  • Having to step out of the writing view to add pages to the end is a pain.
  • There are no templates. It would be nice to be able to write on lines.
  • There’s no image insertion, though I’m sure this will come at some point.

Paper tries to do things differently and follows the same minimalist school as Clear on the iPhone, but sometimes, this causes problems. With the IAP, Paper is a beautiful app and goes on the first page of my iPad, but Penultimate stays at position #1, at the top left.

See Change with the New iPad

I’ve been surprised by John Gruber’s relative restraint in the face of the big reveal of The Holy Grail last week. I’m less surprised over the spate of articles by people who have their heads in the sand about what this new product means and how revolutionary it actually is. Although I was enjoying the nearby GDC during the announcement, I was blessed enough to be able to place my pre-order from the Starbucks on 3rd Street, from my iPad 1, naturally, just before the battery died after an intensive day of recording audio, taking notes and Engadget-page-refreshing.

The pre-existing iPad sales were hardly anaemic.

Apple shipped more iPads than all others shipped PCs

(This was just from the last reported quarter)

The fact that an unmatched software base (over a quarter of a million apps work on iPad) and a slightly insane 25 billion downloaded apps in total on iOS makes for customers that are not likely to be going anywhere else soon, seems to be lost on these so-called experts who think that hundreds of millions of iOS customers are suddenly going to jump ship to another platform “soon”.

What impressed me the most was that Apple was able to include a much more powerful SOC, a 4G LTE radio, known to drain Android handsets in little more than an hour and 4 times the pixels (can’t wait to read Instapaper) at a far greater colour saturation level on a device that doesn’t drain the battery any faster than its predecessor. That’s an engineering rabbit-out-of-the-hat delivered with insouciance by a confident company on top of its game while it sits on top of the world. Ridiculously impressive, and ridiculed only by the self-evidently ridiculous.

For the developer of iPad apps though, there is now a serious problem that I have never faced in 30 years of software development. It’s simply this: Never before has a target device had a greater resolution than the display used to create the software for it. The worst case has been parity (like when I wrote games for the Atari 400 on the hardware itself). Up until last week, the resolution on most high definition monitors meant that what you saw on your iPhone Retina could at least fit onto your working HD display, even if the dot pitch meant you’d see a grotesquely bloated version of it, but with the new iPad, you won’t even be able to see all of the pixels.

That’s a first.

And if that doesn’t scare the competition, they are already over.

(March 17, 2012 update: Note I said “most” monitors. There are always edge cases. I specifically excluded the wonderful 27″ iMac and the Thunderbolt display, out of the reach of many people, myself included for now. In any case, neither the 27″ iMac display, nor the Thunderbolt display and other such devices can come close to the pixel density of the amazing new iPad. The display on this new device is entrancing.)

Why the Kindle is Better for Reading

Marco Arment writes about the benefits of e-reader displays. I’m on his side on every issue, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, but there is one important benefit he’s missed out on.

There is a pure ergonomic benefit to e-ink that LCDs will never be able to offer, and that is that like paper, they rely on ambient light. It might seem curious that I should point to a restriction as a benefit, but e-ink gives us more than just great battery life.

I recently spent 24 hours in a sleep centre, where I was monitored very closely by skilled professionals armed with some seriously heavy duty equipment. I went to sleep at night (kind of) wired up like some kind of pre-wakened Frankstein’s monster.

During the day, I was asked to try to go to sleep every two hours. For half an hour preceding my nap, I was told to stop using my iPad. I was surprised as I used the iPad to help me reach a soporific  state, or so I thought. It turns out that emitted light falling on the retinas stimulates wakefulness. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

It appears that this problem with iPad displays causing insomnia is more common than I thought and for this reason, e-ink displays, such as the one on the Kindle I bought after my sleep centre session, should be popular for some time to come.

Apple Lovers Hammered by Notifications

Iphone notification

I use the expensive, but essential Omnifocus on my iPhone, iPad and various Macs, with the database synchornised using Dropbox. It’s fantastic in every way, except one. During the evening, I have OmniFocus triggering a notification with corresponding alert sound on all my gathered devices. It’s like World War 3 breaking out. I have all my devices with me, practically all the time.

I don’t think there is a simple way around this. Geolocation doesn’t have the resolution (and besides, won’t work on the iPad and Mac all the time anyway). I suppose the easiest way is to have it only on my phone, but during the evenings, I like to use the Mac and leave the phone a metre or so away.

Another option would be to have a flag in the Dropbox sync file that tells me which devices are currently checking in and if I’m stationery (check the iPhone GPS) for more than say, 5 minutes, and the Mac is on and OmnFfocus running, it would display a Growl notification on the Mac only. If the Mac were not on, and the iPhone GPS were showing me as stationary for 5 or more minutes, it would notify me on the iPad only. If the iPhone GPS indicated movement of more than say 20 metres a minute, only the iPhone would notify me.

It would perhaps be an over-clever solution that would trip up over some really trivial test cases, when the real answer is to have a better notification system at OS level. Even that isn’t going to be a panacea.

And no, I haven’t done my pull ups, despite being reminded three times, by three different devices.