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Snow Leopard

NewsFire and Xtorrent run great on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard!

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  • August 28th, 2009 1:49 am


Spectacular Apps

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  • December 2nd, 2008 6:57 pm

Graphic elements

Graphic Elements

It’s not NewsFire – it’s something entirely different for the iPhone.


This is just a heads-up that this blog is undergoing a redesign at the moment. Much of the redesign work is done, though there may be some more to come. Changes so far include some more prominent links for my projects right at the top, cleaner graphics, and gravatar support in the comments.

iTunes movie rentals… coming soon (?)

iTunes movie rentals, eh?

iPhone .png Decoding

Anyone who has delved into the internals of the iPhone’s OS probably knows that, for whatever reason, .png files on the iPhone are encoded in a manner that makes them unreadable by normal image editing programs. There is a tool out there to handle the simple conversion, but this tool is a two-step process, only handles one file at a time, and doesn’t come precompiled. I took a few minutes the other day to produce an modified version (precompiled universal binary and source code included) that recursively handles foldered content and perform all necessary conversions in one step.

The usage is straightforward. In the Terminal, type “./iPhonePNG <input>” where <input> is either a single .png file or a folder. If you’re providing a folder, iPhonePNG will first create a full copy at the path <input>-Decoded, and then proceed to convert every .png file in the folder, leaving you with a folder with all original non-image content preserved and all .png resources decoded into a readable format.

This certainly isn’t something that will be useful to many people, but I wanted the tool for internal purposes and since it doesn’t cost anything to release, I might as well make the modifications public.

Regarding Activation

There’s a lot of FUD and misinformation floating around about product activation right now. There are claims that product activation is somehow a bad or unnecessary solution:

To get people to pay for your software, you need to put some barrier in place that impresses on them that they are expected to pay for the product, and then forces them to consciously choose between honesty and dishonesty…. [activation] is not a necessary part of this equation.”

This is quite simply a naive opinion. The only alternative to “network-mediated activation” is to furnish the user with an serial number or unlock code of some sort. This is, as everyone knows, a ridiculously weak barrier. One malicious user can post their code on a website and the scheme is broken forever. I did experiment with unlock codes back in the day and came to the unfortunate realization that for every legitimate user, there were 10 others who were using a pirated code. Clearly offline unlock codes aren’t a viable solution at all. Relying on “honesty” is a huge mistake.

What activation allows is for reasonable limits to be placed on licenses. One has to realize that people will try to pirate software, and that in cases of rampant abuse it must be possible to stop the bleeding. The use of activation means that while honest users are given very liberal boundaries, rampant and excessive abuse can and will be stopped. 99.99% of users will never have an issue. In the few cases where the liberal boundaries are broken, there’s probably something suspicious happening. Sure, false positives can happen, but simple cooperation and open dialog are usually enough to fix those situations.

I’m writing this because indie developers are especially sensitive to piracy. Margins are so thin that piracy can easily make a project unsustainable. Are anti-piracy mechanisms bad for the user? Of course not. The honest user should never have an issue and the dishonest users are kept from ruining a project. After all, software that has been abandoned due to lack of financial support isn’t good for anyone.

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  • April 17th, 2007 1:42 pm

Apple TV

I was browsing the comments on MacInTouch about the new Apple TV and came across a few comments like this:

If you’re wondering what this means outside of the US, where you can’t even buy movies or TV shows from the iTunes Store at all, just take a look at the Apple UK home page. It looks exactly the same as it did the day before yesterday, as if nothing happened at all. Despite the fact that you can buy (pre-order) the Apple TV in the UK, there’s no video content for it, so effectively it’s a $300/?200 jukebox/slideshow viewer, and Apple knows it.

The problem is the same for us up in Canada – there’s no video content on the iTunes store (except for a few music videos), so what’s the point? Well, I asked an Apple rep working the Macworld floor and he was very quick to assure me that any video content that iTunes can play can be played on the Apple TV, it’s not restricted only to content bought at the iTunes Store. That’s good news for anyone who prefers alternate sources for video content.

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  • January 12th, 2007 1:44 am

Mastercard Payments

For the past several days, PayPal has been having issues with sending payments using Mastercard credit cards. If you had attempted to purchase a license for any of my software products with a Mastercard, you may have not been able to successfully complete the purchase. This issue should be resolved now, and so if you want to use your Mastercard things should proceed trouble-free.

Thanks and apologies for any inconvience.

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  • September 15th, 2006 5:43 pm

wwdc thoughts

Some very quick, improperly thought through thoughts on WWDC:

– RSS in Mail?  It wasn’t in the keynote, but the webpage talks about it.  Strange how Apple’s waffling on RSS – should it be in Safari? Mail? Dashboard?  When Safari got RSS it was part of the trifecta of top features in Tiger (Spotlight, Dashboard, Safari RSS), yet Mail doesn’t even get a mention.
– Time Machine.  It’s an awfully elaborate UI for something that probably shouldn’t be used that often.  I use Backup for file security, and have yet to find a reason to restore anything.  “Undo” works well enough for me as a safety net for stupidity, but maybe that’s because I have a 5-minute attention span.
– Spaces is pretty cool.
– Top Secret features?  As mentioned in the keynote, there’s stuff yet to come.  I really hope there are some killer A-list features because I’m not overwhelmed just yet.