King, which used to be called King.com it pulled a name change at GDC this year, has announced that it has 70 million daily active players, which is a crazy number. By far, King’s biggest title is Candy Crush Saga. The company notes that the game has 15.5 million active players on Facebook every day. Candy Crush Saga is also a big hit on iOS, where it consistently appears in the top charts for both most downloaded and top grossing.
King also announced its intention to bring Pet Rescue Saga to iOS. That game has 6 million daily players on Facebook, and King says it will be the third saga game (along with Bubble Witch Saga) to make the leap to mobile platforms. Pet Rescue Saga will arrive on both iOS and Android later this summer.
King’s success is just phenomenal. It’s impressive for any form of media to reach 70 million people, and for that to happen daily is just crazy. This casual games market can blow up overnight and shrink just as fast (just ask Zynga), but for now, King is doing impressively well.
King claims 70 million daily active players, Pet Rescue Saga coming soon to mobile originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 16 May 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
In a culture where high-profile employees at tech firms often jump ship for new, exciting and different opportunities, Paul Otellini is something of an exception. Yesterday, Otellini officially stepped down from his role as Intel CEO, a company he exclusively and faithfully worked at for nearly 40 years.
With Otellini stepping down to make room for newly minted CEO Brian Krzahnich, The Atlantic yesterday published an extremely interesting and in-depth feature on Otellini’s history at Intel.
In a particularly candid moment, Otellini during an interview expresses regret for not having the foresight to get Intel’s chips into the original iPhone. In an industry filled with such stories, Otellini’s “what could have been?!” tale is especially interesting.
“We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we’d done it,” Otellini told me in a two-hour conversation during his last month at Intel. “The thing you have to remember is that this was before the iPhone was introduced and no one knew what the iPhone would do… At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn’t see it. It wasn’t one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought.”
The hard lesson learned, Otellini explained, was that he should have followed his gut instinct and not relied so strictly on cold hard data.
As for Apple’s volume being 100 times what anyone thought, that’s an interesting point to consider. It’s easy to take the iPhone’s success for granted and not really appreciate that Apple’s foray into the smartphone market proved to be far more successful than anyone could have initially imagined.
Remember that when Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone at Macworld in 2007, he said that Apple’s goal was to simply grab a 1 percent share of the then 1 billion-strong mobile phone market. In other words, Jobs said that Apple was hoping to sell 10 million iPhones in the 2008 calendar year.
About five and a half years later, Apple managed to sell 47.8 million iPhones in a single quarter. Indeed, Apple at this point has cumulatively sold well over 300 million iPhones worldwide, an impressive figure that becomes all the more impressive when one considers the net number of iOS devices sold overall.
All that said, let’s keep in mind that even if Otellini did all he could to secure a deal with Apple with respect to the iPhone, Apple may have still chosen to go with ARM-based chips which, while less powerful, remain much more energy efficient.
Moreover, Steve Jobs in his biography briefly explained why Apple didn’t tap Intel to manufacture chips for the iPad and the iPhone.
Every quarter we schedule a meeting with me and our top three guys and Paul Otellini. At the beginning, we were doing wonderful things together. They wanted this big joint project to do chips for future iPhones. There were two reason we didn’t go with them. One was that they are just really slow. They’re like a steamship, not very flexible. We’re used to going pretty fast. Second is that we just didn’t want to teach them everything , which they could go and sell to our competitors.
Otellini, who was interviewed for the Jobs biography, had a different take on things. He told Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson that the real reason the two companies didn’t sign on the dotted line was because they couldn’t agree on a price and who would control the design of the chips.
Outgoing Intel CEO regrets not getting Intel CPU in iPhone originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Spark Inspector (US$ 39.99 single-license) offers an exciting new development tool. Targeting devs looking to refine their user interfaces, it enables you to interactively tweak view properties like frames and layers.
The app centers around an Interface Builder-like experience, with familiar-looking attribute and size inspectors. If you’re comfortable in Xcode 4, you’ll easily find your way around this tool.
In addition, it provides a custom layer inspector — one that could (and, honestly should) inspire Apple. It enables you to update layer attributes like shadows and transforms, while viewing the results in real time.
Perfect for devs who otherwise write their interfaces in code (I am guilty as charged), it breaks out of the tweak-build-run loop that takes up so much time and energy in the normal development day. Instead, you apply your tweaks within the app itself, adjusting the interface until it looks just right.
This is the point at which Spark Inspector displays its one big weakness (keep in mind that it’s still in development). Instead of producing an updated XIB (which would be okay) or PaintCode-like Objective-C output suitable for re-integration to your apps (which would kick ass), you take responsibility for transferring values back to your Xcode project.
Honestly, It’s not a huge deal — especially when your tweaks change a constant from say 50 to 58.5 — but it’s something that could be a killer feature in future updates. For now, you make notes of what values worked best for you. And no, there’s no “bookmark this UI for later comparison” option either, another thing I would have liked to have seen.
One of Spark Inspector’s nicest features is its 3D extrusion display. This pushes views out in parent-child hierarchies, letting you explore and select items with more tangible visualization than you get in IB.
Spark Inspector also offers a notification inspector, which may be useful for some devs. If you’re already writing your UIs from code, however, you probably know how to set up a listener that logs notifications.
Setup is easy. There’s a setup assistant for configuring Xcode projects, or (if you’re paranoid like I am) add both the SparkInspector and libz frameworks to your dev builds, making sure to enable the -ObjC flag in Other Linker Flags. Include the SparkInspector header as such:
and enable the inspector in your application delegate, typically in application:didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:
Make sure you test using the simulator, and not (as I first tried) on device. The standalone Spark Inspector app (DMG) must be running. As soon as your app hits the “enable observation” stage, it seamlessly connects to the inspector, and you’re ready to test and tweak.
For forty bucks, this promises to be a valuable tool that many devs will benefit from. If you’d like to kick the tires before you buy, there’s a free 30 day trial available on the Spark Inspector website. If you do decide to buy, you purchase directly from the vendor.
DevJuice: Spark Inspector offers real time iOS interface inpection originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 18 May 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Macworld Senior Contributor Kirk McElhearn has several excellent tips for iOS owners looking to sync their large iTunes library with their iPad, iPhone or iPod. Their libraries are so big that they exceed the capacity of their devices, which forces them to pick and choose what items they want to sync.
McElhearn walks users through two methods for syncing an oversized library. Each method lets you control which tracks are synced and which ones are not. The most efficient method allows users to sync playlists, individual artists, specific genres and even selected albums with their iOS device. You can read about the two methods in the article on Macworld’s website.
It’s time to save some of that hard-earned cash with our Daily Deals, featuring a handy list from Dealnews and our own hand-picked selections that include some sweet deals on iOS and OS X software (all prices are USD).
Deals from Dealnews
- StackSocial: [Mac Software] MacX Video Converter Pro for Mac for free
- MacMall: [Apple Computers] MacMall Mac Blowout Sale: Up to $ 1,099 off Macs, iPads, and more
- Other World Computing: [Computer Accessories] OWC 2012 Featured Move ‘em Out Sale: RAM, accessories, HDDs, more
- Monoprice.com: [24-Inch LCDs Or Larger] Monoprice 27″ IPS-G LED LCD Display for $ 474 + $ 17 s&h
- eBay: [Home Security] Refurbished Philips WiFi Home Monitor for iPhone / iPad for $ 60 + free shipping
- MacUpdate Promo: [Mac Software] Simon Platinum 3 for Mac downloads for $ 150
- eBay: [Media Receivers] Denon 5.1-Channel 3D Network Receiver with AirPlay for $ 340 + free shipping
- Adorama: [Camera Accessories] Flashpoint Version II Carbon Fiber 65″ Tripod for $ 100 + free shipping
- Cameta Camera: [Camera Accessories] Tenba Vector Digital Camera Bags from $ 35 + free shipping
- StackSocial: [Storage] The MacMate Pro 2-Year Plan for Mac and Windows downloads for $ 59
- StackSocial: [iPhone / iPod Apps] Building iOS Apps From Scratch Without Programming Course for $ 79
- MegaMacs: [MacBook] Refurbished Apple MacBook Core 2 Duo 2.1GHz 13″ Laptop for $ 360 + $ 15 s&h
Paper Titans [iOS Universal; Category: Games; On sale for $ 0.99, down from $ 2.99] Paper Titans is a charming and gentle papercraft-inspired puzzle adventure set across 45 lovingly crafted and beautifully realized levels.
Table Top Racing [iOS Universal; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 2.99] Table Top Racing’ pits all manner of crazy cars and automobiles against each other in a world of table top race tracks and oversized obstacles.
Image Blender [iOS Universal; Category: Photography & Video; On sale for $ 0.99, down from $ 2.99] This is a simple and clean iPhone and iPad app with a single purpose, blending together images.
Avernum 6 HD [iPad; Category: Games; On sale for $ 2.99, down from $ 6.99] Travel into the strange subterranean land of Avernum, full of dungeons, labyrinths, and constant warfare.
N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance [iOS Universal; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 6.99] The most immersive and impressive sci-fi FPS franchise on smartphones is back.
VLC iRemote Free [iOS Universal; Category: Entertainment; Now free, down from $ 1.99] VLC iRemote lets you remotely control your VLC Media Player in style.
Lapse It Pro o. Time Lapse Professional [iPhone; Category: Photography & Video; Now free, down from $ 1.99] Lapse It is an award-winning full featured app for capturing amazing time lapse and stop motion videos.
Laminar Pro – Image Editor [iOS Universal; Category: Photography & Video; On sale for $ 0.99, down from $ 4.99] Laminar provides iPhoneography enthusiasts with a complete set of tools to quickly add life and emotions into their images.
Gangstar Rio: City of Saints [iOS Universal; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 4.99] The acclaimed Gangstar series is back on iPhone and iPad to offer you a whole new place to have criminally good fun.
Shatoetry [iPhone; Category: Entertainment; Now free, down from $ 0.99] Shatoetry combines the addictive nature of magnet poetry with the convenience of a smart phone app.
Pudding Monsters [iPhone; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 1.99] Pudding Monsters is a deliciously addicting puzzle adventure with wacky characters and innovative stick-’em-together game-play. Apple’s App of the week.
Pudding Monsters HD [iPad; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 1.99] Pudding Monsters is a deliciously addicting puzzle adventure with wacky characters and innovative stick-’em-together game-play.
Aces of the Luftwaffe [iOS Universal; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 0.99] Fight waves of Axis planes and panzers until you hit the boss enemies.
ScreenDIY [iPhone; Category: Utilities; Now free, down from $ 0.99] ScreenDIY is right here to help you customize the look of your iPhone/iPod Touch ever cooler.
Tiny Token Empires HD [iPad; Category: Games; On sale for $ 0.99, down from $ 8.99] Tiny Token Empires is an amazing mix — it’s a puzzle game.
Sporos [iOS Universal; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 0.99] Sporos demands a mix of skill, luck and logic; in order to succeed, players will conduct clever experiments like scientists in a lab.
Rail Maze Pro HD [iPad; Category: Games; Now free, down from $ 0.99] Rail Maze Pro HD is the iPad version of all-new Rail Maze Pro game.
DMD Panorama [iOS Universal; Category: Photography & Video; Now free, down from $ 1.99] Here is why you should get this panoramic app — complete the circle: up to 360 degrees — don’t wait: we hate progress bars, the result is extremely fast — get quality pixels.
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders [iOS Universal; Category: Games; On sale for $ 0.99, down from $ 4.99] You’ll participate in visceral dogfights, protect cities and fleets, bomb enemy structures and even fly through tunnels.
OS X Software
Quickipedia – Minimalistic Wikipedia Reader [OS X; Category: Reference; Now free, down from $ 1.99] Quickipedia is Wikipedia at its minimal best.Read Wikipedia in a beautiful, unobtrusive client only on your Mac.
Appy Fridays [OS X; Category: Various; On sale] App Friday is discounting three OS X apps including Font Kit Mix, Bluenote and MultiMon.
Skala Preview [OS X; Category: Graphics & Design; Now free, down from $ 4.99] Skala Preview is the fastest way to send pixel-perfect, color-perfect design previews from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad.
Breezy [OS X; Category: Developer Tools; Now free, down from $ 1.99] This tiny app keeps track of your recent encoding sessions and you can get to base64 code of up to 7 recent images with a single click.
Identical [OS X; Category: Utilities; Now free, down from $ 0.99] There are times, perhaps only a few times per year, when you want to quickly find out whether two or more particular files (not folders) are exactly the same. In these cases, download and use Identical.
Brandon Ashmore, a 21-year-old from Mentor, Ohio, has a lot to smile about as the winner of a US$ 10,000 gift card from Apple for being the person who downloaded the 50 billionth app from the App Store. Ashmore told NewsChannel5 in Cleveland that he had saved up five apps to download onto his iPhone 5 to try to win the contest, and thought he was being pranked when an Apple rep called him to relay the good news.
Ashmore finally believed the caller, saying that the Apple employee had “too much information” about him. The winning app was Say the Same Thing by SpaceInch, LLC, a free word game that has been floating around the Top Free Apps list since it was released in April 2013.
So what’s Ashmore going to do with his $ 10,000 gift card? He refers to the credit as “free music, movies and books for life.”
Apple’s 50 billionth app contest winner saved up five app purchases originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Earlier this month TUAW reported that iOS 6 had obtained FIPS 140-2 certification, “opening the door to more government use.” It didn’t take long for that door to swing wide open, as the Pentagon has now officially approved iPhones and iPads running a version of iOS 6 for use on secure government networks.
Two weeks ago, Samsung devices running the Knox security layer and BlackBerry devices including the BlackBerry 10 smartphones and PlayBook tablets were given the nod by the US military. Adding Apple’s iOS devices to the mix was part of the platform-agnostic plans of the Pentagon revealed in February. Those plans detailed adding wireless voice, video and data capabilities for classified and unclassified communications by October 2013. The approved devices will begin to be used more widely in the military and intelligence communities late in 2013 or in early 2014.
iPhones and iPads already have a home in some parts of the government that don’t require such strict security, but the new Pentagon certification should make for more widespread adoption of iOS.
US Pentagon grants security clearance to iPad, iPhone originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It’s clearly not the best time to be looking for a MacBook Air — 13-inch versions are in especially short supply. The reason for the shortage will be obvious to those who follow Apple closely: it’s almost time for the Apple World Wide Developer Conference starting June 10, and Apple is likely going to refresh the popular laptops with the next-generation Intel Haswell Processor.
Apple Insider reports that the only reseller with any significant inventory of the best selling model — outfitted with a 1.8 GHz processor and 256 GB solid state drive — is Best Buy. Typically, a constrained supply means new products are in the pipeline. The 11-inch MacBook Air is showing up as available at resellers.
Supply chain rumors have stated a new MacBook Air is on the way with the new Intel processors, with availability predicted for next month. The new chips from Intel promise to generate less heat, consume less power and allow longer battery life. The chips also have a new integrated graphics processor, claiming a 50 percent hike in performance.
Steve Jobs introduced the first MacBook Air in 2008, and promoted at the time as the world’s thinnest notebook. Since then Apple has added new models, increased performance and battery life, and added new features such as USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt support.
Zoombies is a fascinating little game. It’s made by a company called High Voltage that is probably best known for the Conduit shooter series, though they’ve been making licensed games for years (I remember visiting the studio for a tour back when I lived in Chicago — they were based out in the Hoffman Estates suburb back then). Zoombies is a title that’s been in development there for a while — it was first considered for the Wii, then possibly for Xbox Live Arcade and finally has seen release on Apple’s iOS.
It’s easy to see why High Voltage was trying to make this game as a motion control title — the idea is that you’re a kid trying to fight an army of invading undead zoo animals (“Zoo-mbies,” get it?), and you are armed with a weapon that you can toss according to a line you’ve drawn on the screen. Control on the Wii or Xbox would probably have been more direct, but on the iOS touchscreen it means you swipe your finger around, and then the weapon will follow your path. This creates some interesting timing issues — you want to throw where an animal will be, not where they are. And once you’ve thrown your weapon, you can’t throw it again until it finishes the path, which requires you to keep things as compact as possible.
Zoombies’ real charm, however, is in the tone and the art style. The whole game, as you can tell by the subtitle, is done in a joyous sort of Mexican mariachi style, and it just oozes fun. The animals are menacingly cute, the kids are great and every level has plenty of “skull goals,” which are super satisfying to complete. Even if you don’t like that core line-drawing mechanic, this game is totally charming anyway. Clearly, this was a labor of love for High Voltage, and you can tell they had a lot of fun making the game.
Zoombies is available for US$ 2.99 on the App Store now, though there are a lot of in-app purchases included, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that price come down sooner if not later. Still, $ 3 is cheap, so if Zoombies interests you, you might as well grab it right away.
Daily iPhone App — Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte is cute, arcade fun originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
I was lucky. My mom and dad had me while they were finishing up their graduate work in the 1970′s at North Carolina State University. My dad was, at the time, a bit of a gadget nut. Of course, back then “gadgets” were more commonly found in the kitchen and came from companies like Ronco. My dad was more into the electronics side, and I remember seeing TAB books about building robots around the house. We never built those robots, but my dad did buy two pieces of tech which changed my life forever. One was an HP programmable calculator, the other was an Apple II.
For those who don’t remember, the early programmable calculators from HP had less than 4 kilobytes of memory on them. My dad would program the equations needed to solve various math problems (he was getting his Ph.D in chemical engineering at the time), then he’d let the HP crank away on the math over the weekend. So yes, computers were a little slower back in those days.
While the HP lived at my dad’s office on campus, and I only saw it a few times until he graduated, the Apple was a Christmas present for the whole family. He bought it in a bicycle shop, as there were no real computer shops at the time. In the back of this bike shop there was a hobbyist’s corner filled with old computers like the Altair, and various electronics kits and projects for the budding “computer” hobbyist. As the Apple II had a keyboard and available software, it was an easy sell.
I still remember plugging it in to our color TV and hearing that beep as we loaded up Integer BASIC and tried out a game of Star Wars using a casette to load the program. We had 2 paddles to play, and Star Wars was hard to play with those paddles; one controlled your X-Wing’s X-axis, and the other the Y-axis. That is no way to fly, for sure. More fun was Breakout, and later a Star Trek game where we obliterated ASCII Klingons in turn-based play. Even more fun than that: getting to program our own applications using AppleSoft BASIC, made from a little shop called Microsoft and licensed by Apple for use on the platform (the sad story of why AppleSoft BASIC for Mac never made it to market will have to wait for another day).
Within a few years I was happily using BASIC and fastidiously entering lines of code from books and magazines to make games, “screen art” and other fun things. When we moved to Tennessee I wound up getting a Laser 128, which, along with an external disk drive, allowed me to use some of the best software on the market — for kids and adults.
Some of the software of the 1980′s also had a big impact on me. Bill Budge’s Pinball Construction Set featured a visual interface for easily building virtual pinball tables. Music Construction Set similarly allowed the Apple II to turn into a synthesizer. Adventure Construction Set, while primitive, was used to make entire interactive worlds using little sprites and your imagination. All of those were from Electronic Arts, a rambunctious little gaming startup at the time. Then there was Broderbund, who brought me Lode Runner and The Print Shop. Lode Runner (still around today, sort of), had a level editor that allowed total freedom. I made dozens of levels; later, when I taught game design at a technical college, the lessons in game balance I learned from play testing those Lode Runner levels were not lost on me.
Then there was The Newsroom by Springboard (there’s an archived review for the Atari here). Of course Broderbund made a killing with The Print Shop — a simple software package which allowed anyone to easily print (on dot matrix!) posters, banners and other things. Every school in my town had a copy of The Print Shop, and judging from Kodak Disc photos of birthdays back then, I think most of the parents had a copy as well. But The Newsroom was like an advanced version of Print Shop. It was basically a desktop publishing package, complete with layout options, text editor, “image” editor, plus a couple of floppies worth of clip art. The Newsroom used the metaphor of an actual newspaper, complete with layout room and copy desk, to guide kids through the process of making newsletters. It was a powerful piece of software, and required several floppies (front and back!) to create and print your work.
I was also fortunate to grow up in a small East Tennessee town with a couple of taxpaying big companies located there. Eastman Kodak and Mead Paper had operations where I grew up, and because they paid so much in local taxes our schools were quite good. I remember attending computer programming camp where we worked on the Apple IIe at a local elementary school one summer — apparently this was not common, and certainly rare in an otherwise agrarian locale. Along the way I got Microzine, a brilliant digital magazine available on floppy disk from Scholastic.
When my dad got our first Mac, it was an SE/30. The SE/30 was a great machine, but more importantly we got our first modem with it. Naturally, I was the first in my family to infect our computer with a virus. The virus came from a downloaded sound pack (remember when you could customize sounds on Mac OS?) featuring Monty Python noises. Virus writers definitely knew their audience. If you were on the Internet back then you’ll also fondly remember how it was primarily a text interface, and “finding” stuff was largely done via print or word of mouth. Ah, BBS — back when trolls were smote daily by mods.
I recall a youth filled with electronic toys, too. I still have a Speak & Spell, and a Entex Electronics Soccer game, briefly seen in TRON: Legacy. My dad was nice enough to get me several Erector and Capsela kits, and those awesome 100-in-1 electronics project kits, the old ones with springs and a million colored wires which inevitably became tangled up. Perhaps my most prized possession was Verbot from Tomy, a voice-recognizing robot which you could order around the house by shouting commands into a microphone. Verbot worked almost as well as Siri, so there you go.
In high school I helped our yearbook staff modernize. Mine was the first class to skip the old pasting methods, creating the yearbook digitally with Pagemaker (from Aldus at the time) and Freehand. I still have Freehand 1.0 on a disk somewhere. We also bought one of the first affordable color printers, which used thermal paper, and I remember being disappointed by the quality of the images.
One big side project in high school involved taking correspondence classes in electronics from NRI. My specific degree was to be in electronic music technology, but I only took the courses up until I made a mixer and a really terrible PC. The mouse was so cheap as to be non-functional by design. Building your own PC way back then gave one an appreciation for the fit and finish of Apple products.
It was also during high school that I continued my fascination for building things in software. I was never very good at it, but when HyperCard came along I churned out dozens of choose-your-own-adventure games. Often I was the only one playing them, but it further ingrained a sense that computers were the fastest way from thought to created reality.
By the time I was in college, and after switching from Electrical/Computer Engineering to Communications, Apple had started cranking out lots of Mac models. My first personal Mac was a Centris 610, the “pizza box” variety. I wanted a Mac TV, but had to wait until I treated myself to a graduation present of a PowerMac 8500. Until then I was an active member of several boards on Prodigy, took some time to make a fake ID with my Mac, and published a ‘zine using, again, PageMaker. I remember not having enough RAM to load some of the photos.
The early-to-mid 90′s were not exactly kind to Apple, but there were some important innovations. I watched my first QuickTime movie on a double-density disk in my Centris on afternoon in my dorm room. It blew my mind. That’s also what got me into the video streaming business way back in 1999, at a now-defunct dot com startup. By then I had enough experience to know that if you could create something in the computer, you could *publish* that content in any form.
Now that video could be shown on a personal computer, the final wall had been broken. Of course I didn’t consider bandwidth concerns, etc. but that was the origin point for my former stab at a multimedia shop, Superpixel.com. I founded Superpixel having grown up making stuff in computers, either in BASIC or hand-coded from a book, or in a construction set. Using software like HyperCard, and building electronics, printing yearbooks and editing video on a computer early in life also prepped me for the work I was to do later in life, both in education and blogging.
With a PowerMac 8500 under my arm, and After Effects 3.0 and Premiere 4 loaded onboard, I set off to film school. The 8500′s analog output resulted in some hilarious attempts at visual effects. I spent far too much time painting fire and lightning effects frame-by-frame in Painter, and not nearly enough time writing scripts in Final Draft (still one of my favorite word processors ever). Still, by the time my final year rolled around the blue and white G3 had become available, so I grabbed one of those, a Canon XL-1 and an ultrawide SCSI hard drive with a whopping 8.5 GB of storage on it. With this setup I shot my final project, a sort of live action Robot Chicken, with a slight touch of Tim and Eric Awesome Show.
I briefly worked in the video industry, assisting AVID editors (who used Macs) and making labels and other assistant-editor duties on an ever-evolving lineup of candy colored iMacs. By the time I left that industry Apple was on the verge of releasing the first iPod.
After a brief stint making commercial websites and internal software solutions, all on Windows machines, I wound up teaching multimedia, then game design, again mostly on Dell computers. Still, 3ds max only runs on Windows, so I was quite fortunate to graduate from Bryce, Poser and Ray Dream Studio on my Mac to a “big boy” 3D toolset. While teaching I honed my skills in Photoshop, Director and Flash. Yes, this was back in the earlier part of the century when Flash was actually useful.
While teaching is awesome, there are times when you’re sort of waiting around. During those times I would log in to Slashdot, or dial up a new site called Engadget. Phillip Torrone was a podcast host at the time, and I remember going from Phil’s Flash hacking blog to Engadget. Through Engadget I discovered TUAW, where I wound up becoming the top-ranked commenter — go figure! In 2004, Ryan Block wrote up my iPod case made from a milk jug (which hack-a-day had posted first). I also wound up writing a concept for a Mac mini-based home studio, much as Barb Dybwad did on Engadget, and that’s how she and I met.
Eventually, the company then known as Weblogs, Inc. decided to launch a software blog, so Jason Calacanis asked David Chartier and I, along with Jordan Running and Marc Perton, to write for the new site. I learned a lot from or first lead, Marc, who went on to work at Consumer Reports before landing at gdgt. Funny how things come full circle, as gdgt is now also part of AOL!
Anyway, Download Squad was a sincere effort to find and review the best software out there, and report on the industry. What we didn’t realize was that the industry would be forever changed as the concept of “software” became more mobile, more pervasive, ultimately morphing into “apps” with a huge growth curve in mobile. Download Squad was closed by AOL just a couple of years ago, but I like to think there’s still a market opportunity in quality software reviews, covering all platforms that matter.
Once AOL acquired Weblogs (not long after the launch of Download Squad, incidentally), I started full time as a programming manager, in charge of several sites at once. I assisted in the administration of all of the foreign Engadget sites. I oversaw BBHub (a BlackBerry blog, can you imagine?), DVGuru and some of the rogue, hyper-niche sites we used to have — like a site about web radio, and The Unofficial Yahoo Weblog (yep, that was a thing).
The rest is history, I suppose. As AOL shifted focus and CEOs, I kept working on making the sites great. We launched DIY Life at some point, with an eclectic and somewhat geeky bent, but that was folded into Lifestyle and is more home-focused now.
I’m incredibly proud of the team at TUAW, as many of us have been here for several years. Dave Caolo was at TUAW before me, in fact, and now he’s full-time with AOL to make sure the trains run on time every morning. We were fortunate to have Laurie Duncan introduce us to Mike Rose, as his editorial love, deep knowledge and brilliant mind consistently bring clarity to the team and the site. (Mike’s a damn fine writer, too. This farewell tribute to Steve Jobs is one of the best things I’ve ever read.) Steve Sande just joined AOL full-time as well, although I sometimes think he was installed as a patch during some overnight update — the guy knows his Apple tech!
Oh, I also made a fart app video.
I’ve also been lucky to have worked with some amazing TUAW talent, now elsewhere. Brett Terpstra is now a developer with AOL Tech, but he produces a podcast and writes some amazing software. Drew Olanoff is kicking ass with TechCrunch. Christina Warren is with Mashable, but before she was big time, here’s her interviewing David Pogue. I practically watched Nik Fletcher grow up! All amazing people, and there plenty of other, equally amazing ones I haven’t listed because I’m afraid I’ll forget someone — it’s been that great a ride.
Over the coming months I’ll let the rest of the team tell their origin stories as well. Stay tuned for those, and lots more good stuff to come here on TUAW.