With all this iPhone hoo-ha happening of late, I’ve finally started thinking about this “mobile web” thing. It’s been hard not to, with all the noise about iPhone SDKs – or lack thereof. Personally, I’m all for the whole web app thing when it comes to phones. Maybe it’s just me, but it makes sense. Obviously there’s the local data storage issue, but I’m sure some bright spark will figure out a solution some day.

Anyway, where was I going with this? I forgot. Oh yes… Blogging from a phone. We have WordPressMovableTypeSimpleLogTextpattern, and so on, but they’re all desktop web browser dependent. Most are graphic – and JavaScript – heavy. Most which I have tried out reward larger screen estate. These are all major limitations of the mobile web as it stands.

This week I will be getting my hands on my new phone. It’s not an iPhone, but an HTC P43501. We’ve been using them at work for a while now, and they rock pretty hard. Yes, yes, I know I’m a Mac user, and it’s a Windows Mobile device… big whoop. Anyway, I’d love it if there we a nice blogging tool like the afore-mentioned WordPress, etc, which featured a nice, mobile optimised writing interface in addition to the fully-featured desktop version. Something which fits a 240×3202 screen nicely.

I have a feeling though that if I want something like this, I’ll have to make it myself. Which is a shame, because it means it’ll probably never get done…

  1. Catchy, huh? Maybe they should have stuck with the “Herald” code-name instead. 
  2. Well, 320×240 once oriented for use with the keyboard. 

So a Windows version of Safari is finally here. Hurrah, another browser to support. Cynicism aside, is it any good?

Now, bearing in mind this is a beta version, there are a few issues I have. These are only my personal annoyances, based on first impressions, and in no way a comprehansive list of bugs.

It’s Fugly.

Fugly in the sense of it dowsn’t fit in with the surrounding OS one little bit. Not even an iota. I give Apple credit for porting the thing in the first place, and I know there’s a kind of UI “branding” to stick to, but the window border looks awful.

Another issue is the font rendering. I have Windows ClearType turned on for font smoothing. Safari has its own font smoothing (which can’t be turned off – another annoyance). The combination of two font smoothing algorythmns makes text look almost bold. It needs sorted ASAP.

There’s the Aqua-style widgets as well, but there a minor annoyance.

It’s Inconsistent

I can middle-click on a link in a web page, and it opens in a new tab. If I middle-click on a bookmark, it does nothing. That irritates me no end. Off the top of my head, some dialogs open in OSX-style “slide-down” windows, others don’t. Maybe this is a OS limitation? Or am I imagining it?

No dotMac Sync

I know, I know… dotMac sucks. But it has one very useful feature which I use extensively – bookmark syncing. I had hoped the Windows version of Safari would include this, but alas, it’s not there. Maybe they’ll add it in before the final version? If not, I don’t know if Safari will be able to compete against Firefox + Google Browser Sync as my first-choice of browser. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt for the moment, simply for the speed boost over Firefox, but speed alone won’t keep it in front.

So all round, Safari on Windows is a bit meh, hovering precariously close to pure dissapointment. For now, I’m willing to the give Apple the benefit for the doubt – it is a beta version, after all.

As one final note, how to do you bring up the web inspector panel I’ve heard so much about? Email chris@ this site with the answer, please!

If you thought I’d maybe given up on this blog already (what is it? A week?), I’m sorry to disappoint you. Truth is, I’ve been quite busy this week, with lots going on, here there and everywhere. Instead of splitting things into multiple posts for more page views, I’m going to run through everything in one go:

1. Guitar Hero II Rocks

You may have seen some of the pictures on Flickr already, but I just want to say how genius Guitar Hero II on Xbox 360 is. The whole family has been rocking out all week. None of us are any good, but it’s part of the fun!

2. My Company Bought Another Company

The management are saying “merger”, but the official legal term is “acquisition”. Either way, the company I work for is joining withanother company. This is quite interesting for me, because the other company (PGL) have a software development division. I need to have a chat with the management involved, but there’s certainly an opportunity for me to move into desktop application development instead of doing web stuff.

3. I’ve Been Setting Up My Networked Media System

OK, that’s probably a fancier title than it needs, but basically I’ve been getting all the pieces in place to have all my media available to stream to the living room and bedroom. The system is mostly Mac based, with an Xbox 360 in the living room. For network connections I’m using HomePlug AV units – which so far have worked brilliantly. At the centre of everything will be a Mac Mini, an external hard drive, iTunes, and a copy of Vista media center running in a virtual machine. I’d have it up and running just now, but i picked up the wrong type of RAM for upgrading the mini… Doh!

4. I’ve Been Running

Well, not so much as I’d have liked this week, but I’ve slowly been ramping up the milage in my quest to be ready for the Aberdeen 10K run in a months time. Gym sessions have been going great, and I’ve dropped a stone and a half in weight since I started, which is a bonus!

So there you have it; that woz the week wot woz. Quite a bit going on, which was a bit unusual for me. Everybody else been having a good week?

On Saturday, I blogged about my experiences of buying Photoshop Lightroom the Adobe.com store. Tonight I came home to an email from Tom Hogarty, Product Manager of the Lightroom team.

I’m not going to quote the email – there’s no need to, really – but for a product manager of a big, giant corporation like Adobe to even notice a single blogger talking about some trouble with the store, let alone take time to personally respond to said blogger, was something which took me by surprise. (I hope Apple are listening – I’ve got a whole raft of issues to take you up on!)

By doing so, Tom humanized Adobe (just a little). It’s nice when someone takes notice of you.

Anyway, the end result is that I’ve phoned my card issuer(s) and tried again at the Adobe.com store. The credit card payment seemed to go through, but my order is currently listed as “Pending” (it’s a download only purchase). However I’m sure before long I’ll be enjoying some full Lightroom goodness again.

[Update] Order fulfilled, and serial codes received. Happy endings all round!

I own a Nikon D50 camera, which I’m slowly getting the hang of. One of the learning processes I’m going through at the moment is RAW workflow – taking the RAW files from the camera, processing them on the computer, then exporting them to whatever format/size/whatever I need.

The 2 big guns of the “digital darkroom” space on the Mac, are Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom, and Apple’s own Aperture. Of these, my preference is definitely Lightroom. I’ve tried to like Aperture – really, I have – but I just can’t seem to figure it out. Lightroom on the otherhand, I had sussed in about an hour. I just couldn’t seem to find how to do what I wanted to do in Aperture (it’s unusual for me to find an Apple app to be unintuitive).

When the Lightroom trial ran out, I was happy enough to buy the full copy – despite the extra 50% premium just for living in the UK. The only problem was I couldn’t buy the full downloadable version from the Adobe store. They just wouldn’t let me. I tried to give them my money, but they just refused to accept it – not just once, but from three different cards. Apparently the details I gave them didn’t match those at the bank, even though I’d used the exact same details to renew some domains earlier this morning. Maybe if their store didn’t hardcode the UK as “GB”, the bank might have corroborated my details? It’s about the only thing I could think of.

My options then are to either

  1. Phone their customer support desk to place the order
  2. Buy a boxed copy from somewhere else
  3. Give Aperture another look.

None of these options are appealing at all. I don’t like handing out card details over the phone, assuming the order would work this way. Nor do I want another software box taking up space, or an install CD to lose. Then there’s Aperture. It’s maybe the lesser of the three evils, but it means relearning how to do all the stuff I just learned for Lightroom. That doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement.

Who knows, maybe the store will work tomorrow. Maybe it was just my day for gremlins (I had troubles with downloading Icon Shoppe purchases as well). Or maybe I’ll find a good book on Aperture which will show me how to do things properly.

I’ll be honest – I suck at blogging. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I just can’t seem to get it right. Things will maybe start off OK for a little while, but then this usually happens:

  1. I start deciding what I’m writing about isn’t worth posting, so won’t post until I have something I think is really worth posting.
  2. The blog goes silent for week/months.
  3. I feel bad, so post a couple of weeks worth of rubbish.
  4. I feel worse for writing crap and in a fit of frustration abandon the blog.

I’ve lost track of how often I’ve done this…

So what makes this time different?

Nothing. I just hold a bit of an affinity with Pixel Meadow, over and above any of my other sites – it was my first (and probably most successful) blog. I’m going to try and get it going again; if it works then great, if not… well at least you’ll maybe get a bit of a laugh out of it.