Posts matching “thomas brand”.

PowerBook G3 Round-Up

Stephen Hackett at 512pixels:

In retrospect, it’s easy to see just how important the PowerBook G3s were to Apple. The machines bridged the gap between old-school and modern Macs, and each generation included significant progress in Apple’s mobile technology.

The photos are great, as is the analysis. Having never owned a PowerBook G3, I often find it hard to get the naming system just right.

[via Thomas Brand.]

Skeuomorphism throughout Apple’s history

Thomas Brand at Egg Freckles gives us a history lesson in Apple skeuomorphism, all the way back to the beginning:

Before the Mac there was no skeuomorphism, because there was no graphical user interface. For almost thirty years the iconography of desktop objects have greeted users as they stare into their computer screens. The desktop metaphor has given new computer users a familiar foundation to ground their experiences upon, and expert users terminology such as “files” and “folders” we still use today.

Brushed metal, DVD players, and even the calculator – Brand shows that skeuomorphism is nothing new for Apple.

Even the Newton had its share of skeuomorphism, with the lined paper metaphor greeting us in the Notes app.

Mac Floppy: disk stories of yore

Thomas Brand, he of the delightful Egg Freckles, has done it again: Mac Floppy is a tumblog of the old Macintosh disk days.

Brand covers everything from classic Mac games, to MacPaint, to Disk Swapper’s Elbow.

With Egg Freckles focused on longer-form pieces, Brand says Mac Floppy helps him get creative with shorter pieces on classic Mac software.

“A lot of people grew up staring at a Macintosh with a monochrome 9 inch screen,” he told me. “I am hoping to collect some of those memories from the Macintosh community by sharing screenshots from my early Mac software collection. If everything goes to plan we should see the comments start to fill up with recollections from other users.”

Brand is looking for guests posts, so let him know if you’re dying to write about an old-school application.

iTunes Match: for me, a solution in need of a problem

Thomas Brand at Egg Freckles:

For normal people iTunes Match will solve the problem of getting the music they have on one computer to all of their computers and Apple devices without networking, filesystems, or sync cables. For me iTunes Match is a frivolous expense…The only advantage iTunes Match provides me is the flexibility of streaming or downloading songs on the go when I am away from my computer.

I’ve talked about this a few times on The hello Show, but this new way of doing your music that Brand explains is, to me, much like MobileMe was in terms of syncing: it doesn’t solve a problem for me. Brand mentions he already knows how to sync his iTunes libraries across multiple machines. My sticking point is that I have the one true iTunes library, and everything runs from that without problems.

My process for syncing is tied with the way my routine goes. Before I head to bed, I plug my iPhone into my Mac for recharging and syncing. Any changes made on the iPhone (appointments, contact updates, etc.) get synced to the iMac, and any new updates on the iMac (podcasts, songs, calendar additions) get synced down to the iPhone. Then, the next morning, I unplug the iPhone and head off to work.

Most of the music I want to listen to on my iPhone gets synced through iTunes. If I notice something is missing, during the next sync I add that artist or playlist. There are no kinks in my system.

Yes, the higher-quality music files from iTunes Match are attractive. The tradeoff is I have to dip into a system I’m not entirely comfortable with yet.

Apple.com, circa never (but we can wish)

Apple.com, circa never

It was soon after the iPad 2 announcement that the trouble started brewing.

Thomas Brand on Twitter: “If you think the white iPad 2 looks cheap you should see the Bondie Blue model with pinstripes.”

Neat, I thought – I’d take a Bondi Blue one any day. So Thomas made one. And then another. And then more.

We had so much fun watching all of Thomas’s retro iPads come through that, shucks, why not make a retro Apple.com page again? So there you have it: Apple.com, circa never.

This time, I used the OS X 10.2 Jaguar-era Apple.com, with a fun iPhone fake mockup and an announcement that will never, ever come.

As far as the iPad goes: the white iPad 2 is the first time I’ve actually considered wanting an iPad. I still don’t have an iPad-shaped hole in my life, and the $499 could be used more productively in a lot of other places, but who knows. It’s a wonderful-looking product, and put me down as a fan of the white versions of Apple’s mobile devices.

Another side note: Thomas has been on fire over at Egg Freckles. Not only is his the best-looking blog on the web, but he’s cranking out great stuff lately.

Beige and pinstripe Apple tablets

It’s only appropriate that today, on the day Steve Jobs announced the iPad 2, that Thomas Brand from Egg Freckles released a tablet for classic Mac lovers: the above G3-era version.

This after I challenged him with a hypothetical blueberry model. Boy, does that guy deliver or what?

Also: a beige model, for the classic lovers. Love how the Apple logo could serve as the new Home button.

While the iPad 2 is the first iPad I’ve considered buying, I would pick up a pinstripe Apple tablet in a heartbeat.

Navigating the filesystem

Thomas Brand over at Egg Freckles:

Yesterday’s Mac trained users on how to navigate the filesystem, while modern operating system like Mac OS X discourage its use. The gap between the abstraction of user space, and system space is widening. As computers become more like appliances the underlying operating system is becoming harder to access.

The question – is this a good thing or not? – can largely be answered depending on what type of person you are.

Geeks have been talking about Apple products as appliances since the beginning. To Apple, it’s part of their philosophy: computers for the rest of us, whereby “rest of us” means “those of us who aren’t willing to dive into the nitty gritty.”

I feel Brand’s apprehension about operating systems, with the iOS devices and with the new version of OS X, moving away from the ability to navigate the file system. I’m a folder-and-text-file kind of guy, too. When I got my first OS 9 Mac, it was a joy to dig into the System Folder and poke around at what was in there. This is probably why people ask me to help them work out software and hardware problems at work and at home. My brain is comfortable in a file system environment.

But golly, I’m surely in the minority. And so is Brand. We navigate the file system because it brings us the joy of discovery. For most people, they recoil in horror.

“Where did that file go?”

Brand says OS X provides too many options to find that file:

On Mac OS X Apple has hidden the Hard Drive icon and replaced it with a pre established list of shortcuts that offers speed of access at the price of user confusion. Should I go to the Dock, or the Finder’s sidebar to launch my application or open my file? How about a Spotlight search? With so many possibilities it is no wonder Mac OS X users are often confused about where their files are located.

But maybe the problem is that, either way, you’re forcing them to think about a certain file in a certain place in a certain folder. Right now, OS X fails to make that file easy to find, no matter how many UI schemes Apple introduces. People don’t care about where the file is, because they aren’t interested in organization or structure. They just want to work.

This is what makes iOS devices so popular: you don’t think about where the file is, you think about which app you’re going to use. And with iOS, apps couldn’t be easier to find.

Maybe it’s about expectations. I didn’t expect to go anywhere near the file system when I bought my iPhone. But I bought a Mac expecting that tinkering is a part of its operation. As long as Mac OS X has it both ways, where you have dashboard-style navigation cues for regular folks and the geekiness of the file system for the rest of us, I won’t put up too much of a fight.

Egg Freckles’ 404

Thomas Brand on Twitter: “Visit @EggFreckles 404 page. You won’t be sorry, but my traffic will surely look confusing.”

Just lovely. That joke never gets old.

Also, I adore how Mr. Brand makes those graphics for his blog.

Thomas Brand’s simple desk

Well look at that: Thomas Brand’s minimal desk layout was featured by Simple Desks.

iMac? Check. Twitter bird? Check. Newton MessagePad? Check.

David and I had a chance to chat with Mr. Brand on The hello Show a few months back, and it was a treat. So is his blog, Egg Freckles.

[Via Morgan Aldridge on Twitter.]

The hello Show, episode 12: Egg Freckles

@ThomasBrand

David and I had a very special guest on The hello Show, episode 12: Thomas Brand of Egg Freckles.

Thomas was nice enough to share some of his stories as a head Apple Store Genius, why he has such a cool job, and which were some of the worst Macs to repair back in the day.

His Egg Freckles blog has been an inspiration since the early days of Newton Poetry, and Thomas is always a good source of MessagePad-based stuff.

Much like Grant, talking to Tom for the show helps personalize the fun folks you talk to through Twitter or who leave comments on the blog. We now know what the guy sounds like, and that’s pretty cool.

Enjoy the show by downloading the MP3 off the site or subscribing through iTunes.