Apple Stores Now Selling 'Nest' Thermostats

Matt Burns:

"The Apple Store sells the Nest at its full, $249 MSRP — Lowes sells it for the same price. But as the company promises, homeowners should recoup that high price with monthly savings on their utility bill thanks to the Nest’s learning and motion sensing features."

Techcrunch | The Nest Thermostat is Now Available at the Apple Store


'Evernote and Dropbox: Why I Use (and Love) Both'

Brett Kelly, author of the popular Evernote Essentials guide, writes about how he uses both Evernote and Dropbox for different purposes:

This isn’t to say that, should one be so inclined, somebody couldn’t make Evernote into a kind of a Dropbox or Dropbox into a kind of an Evernote. The similarities are strong enough (barely) such that one could theoretically be used in place of the other. I’m not a fan of this idea because I’m a firm believer in using the right tool for the job.

I have to agree. I am also a user (and fan!) of both services, and happily pay for both of them each month ($5/mo for Evernote Premium, and $10/mo for Dropbox Pro 50GB, although I might even upgrade the Dropbox account to the 100GB soon).

Each service was clearly intended for different use-cases. For example, my Dropbox is essentially a replacement for the 'My Documents' folder on any PC I use. It's where I store my iTunes library, including several movies for streaming on my iPhone via the mobile app, as well as all of my personal photos, installers for many useful applications, various documents (sorted by type), backups of files I may need later, and more.

My Evernote account is mainly used to store 'clipped' content from websites, or notes that take advantage of Evernote's multimedia features. Examples would include recipes, gift ideas, stuff I want to buy later, travel notes from cities that I've visited, important information that I may need for my full-time job (yes, I have a job outside of Unretrofied; you think I actually make money doing this?), copies of receipts, stuff I have liked (photos, wines, foods, art, etc), how-to articles for projects, blog post drafts, various sorts of inspiration (style, fitness, design, writing, etc)....the list goes on and on and on.

I agree that Dropbox could feasibly be used for the same purposes that I use Evernote for, but it would be far more convoluted. I would rather just highlight content on a webpage and click the 'Clip to Evernote' button in my browser than try to recreate a webpage layout in a Word or PDF document. Sometimes you don't even have to do that much! If you just click the Clip button without highlighting anything, it can usually determine what content you're looking to save automatically (automagically?) except in cases of weird website layouts.

The nice part of Evernote is that everything is easily tagged and searchable, including the text within images. Dropbox has no such feature, you can only put certain files in certain folders for your own organizational purposes, which I have done since I'm borderline OCD, but it's just not the same.

Evernote is a glorified bookmarking service, while Dropbox is a place to store files (although I do occasionally attach files to certain notes within Evernote). There's room for both in the world, and I don't see either of them really reducing the value of the other.

NerdGap | Evernote and Dropbox: Why I Use (and Love) Both


'VFX roll call for The Avengers'

Terrific rundown of the many special effects used in The Avengers film, even throughout the end credits. I'm a huge fan of this movie (especially after years of assuming that they could never pull it off) and I love seeing all the work that went into bringing all of these fantastic characters to life.

It's a long read, perfect for film geeks.

FXGuide | VFX roll call for The Avengers


'The Way We Talk On Smartphones is Dumb'

John Herman on the current fragmented nature of communication within all major smartphones:

Now, imagine an app — probably your contacts app, which you rarely touch now — that treats all communication like messaging. Your recent call list includes your most recent texts, video calls, file transfers and phone sessions. Each contact's entry has an individualized version of this same thing. To text or call or chat with someone is to reenter and resume a continuous line of communications, logged and consolidated and easy to manipulate. Switching from a voice call to a file transfer to a text message to a video chat would be seamless.

Yes, please.

FWD | The Way We Talk On Smartphones is Dumb


'Web Design Manifesto 2012'

Jeffrey Zeldman wrote up a post defending the design of his site, namely the large type he's been using lately. Personally, I'm a fan of the large type and I agree with his thoughts on it:

It’s over the top but not unusable nor, in my opinion, unbeautiful. How can passages set in Georgia and headlines in Franklin be anything but beautiful? I love seeing my words this big. It encourages me to write better and more often.

I also couldn't help but quote this bit about read-it-later services like Instapaper:

[...] it indicates how pathetic much of our web design is when our visitors increasingly turn to third party applications simply to read our sites’ content. | Web Design Manifesto 2012


Hidden Sidebars Are The New 'Pull-to-Refresh'

Lately, I've noticed a trend in iPhone app UIs. Many of them are beginning to implement a hidden left-hand sidebar, all of which are accessed by tapping a button with 3 lines on the top left corner. Like so:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain the Facebook app was the first to do this. Now look at all the other apps that are doing it too:




and I'm sure the list goes on.

Believe me, I understand why a developer would choose to do this, because it's an easy way to give the user access to other settings without cluttering the main portion of the app.

But it's not very original.

This feels like the hugely popular 'pull-to-refresh' feature that has made its way to so many apps out there, sometimes being shoehorned into places where it doesn't actually make very much sense. Not every good idea is one-size-fits-all, and I would love to see more creativity and innovation in the app community. I'm especially disappointed with Path on this one, since the rest of their app is quite lovely and innovative.


Instacast 2.0


Instacast, a fantastic podcast-management app that I use all the time, has released a much-anticipated 2.0 update today. New features include:

+ Revamped and improved user interface
+ Episode archiving
+ Improved Podcast Player with:
+ Sleep Timer
+ Continuous Playback backward and forward
+ List of episode links
+ Sharing of playback position via email and Twitter
+ Chapter Navigation
+ Improved podcast Auto-Download management
+ Download Manager with:
+ Pause and cancel downloads
+ Reorder downloads to set priority
+ Improved podcast feed parser with:
+ Support for Atom feeds
+ Support for MP3 chapter markers
+ Support for Multi-Format Podcasts
+ Support for Episode Deep Linking
+ VoiceOver support
+ Data Export

Vemedio Blog | Instacast 2.0 Available

[iTunes Link]


'I Can't Fight the Future'

Gabe Weatherhead:

I’ve decided that it just isn’t worth it to fight the future. I’m done trying to come up with fixes and work arounds to stick with old designs. If Apple is changing the software model, I’m going to change too. I’m moving forward because if I’m not onboard with Apple then I’m just swimming against the current. Sandboxing is the future and that has consequences I thought I could ignore.

Macdrifter | I Can't Fight the Future - No More Dropbox On Secondary Drives


Marco Arment on Twitter's Patent Agreement

As Marco states, much praise has been heaped on Twitter for the announcement of their Innovator's Patent Agreement, which is supposedly going to afford Twitter employees a greater amount of control over their patents. I'm with Marco on everything he says in his response, but the most salient point of all is actually in the footnotes (emphasis mine):

2. Many Instapaper ideas might have been patentable, including the one-click-save bookmarklet, many techniques the bookmarklet uses, many text-parser algorithms, some Kindle methods, proportional tilt scrolling, automatic-by-sunset dark mode, smart auto-rotation prompting, smart gesture-error prompting, methods for pagination of arbitrary web content, and methods for inter-app communication.

I didn’t patent the older inventions because I couldn’t afford to. I probably could have patented some of the newer ones, but I didn’t even look into it enough to do basic prior-art searches. I fundamentally disagree that software patents (and many other types of patents) are a net gain for society, and I can’t participate in that system in good conscience. That’s a stand that I’d like to see more companies adopt. | Twitter's "Innovator's Patent Agreement"


Photos of 'Discovery' Flight Over D.C.

Some of these are incredible.

via Rob Sheridan

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