The First App for Mac Worth Buying

I've been using Sparrow for a little over 5 months in beta and today, Sparrow has launched it's veritable 1.0 for $9.99 on Apple's Mac App Store.

Primed for Gmail centric users, 1.0 takes the look and feel of the browser translating it to an app that closely resembles Twitter's Mac client (formerly known as Tweetie for Mac.)  A joy to use, it's robust interface easily replaces what Apple's Mail client lacks.  While still lacking IMAP support for other providers, Sparrow is readying version 1.1 converting it to a full-featured mail client that will be compatible with other IMAP services. Download it today and change the way you communicate!

For others wondering if a "lite" version will be released, as noted by @sparrowmailapp in response:

@splee Yes, Sparrow Lite has been submitted at the same time than Sparrow and hasn't been reviewed yet by Apple.

Digital Books as Apps = Physics Heaven

If you're in the game of writing, authoring and releasing a book within the next year, don't go all 1.0 and turn to iBooks, Amazon or the onslaught of various publishers for some ebook / hardcover / paperback setup.  Check out Push Pop Press! Launching their teaser  site yesterday, Push Pop Press is starting their campaign to transform your book into an experience!  Started by the talented designer, Mike Matas of Apple iOS fame as well as the Delicious Library, and engineers Kimon Tsinteris and Austin Sarner, Push Pop Press is poised the game and is definitely off to a running head start.

Books that let you explore photos, videos, music, maps, and interactive graphics, all through a new physics-based multi-touch user interface.

As you can see from the teaser site and /or image below, the possibilities are amazing with pinch to zoom and in app video rendering.  For a more in depth look and commentary, check out John Gruber and his early testing! // Daring Fireball: Push Pop Press //

Review: iTunes Ping

So i downloaded iTunes 10 last night to play with the social networking component Ping. I didn't listen to the Apple Press Event yesterday so I didn't know what to think. I had this grand idea that it would integrate with all the other social networking sites that I frequent (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.). I also though that it was kind of weird since there are existing online music sites that have integrated social networking and have a very mature model, like LastFM. I also thought to myself that this could be something huge with the 100 Million worldwide users of iTunes. That's a huge user base to start with! With that being said, there is a very high bar for Ping to at least get close to. In the few hours that I've had to play with Ping I have to say, I don't get it. What is the point to Ping? Upon activating Ping to my iTunes account the options are very rudimentary. Basic stuff about you and what picture you want to use as your avatar is available to you. If you have an acccount, you've been asked this a Million times over.

You are then asked a simple set of questions to gauge your musical tastes. Strike 1: I can only choose 3 genres of music I like.  I"m very eclectic with my choice in music. This does not set well with me.  Strike 2: When asked what albums to represent the music I like, I'm limited to 10 items. This DOES allow me to get past the 3 genres failure, but I'm going to need more than a couple minutes to define myself with 10 albums. To some audiophiles, this is going to take more than a couple minutes.

Getting past the account creation part, I'm still confused by the use. In my opinion there aren't enough people that are registered on the site to get any value. I THINK the point is to find like minded people who are making reviews on the music they purchase via iTunes and befriend them because they have similar musical tastes as I do. Since the release last night, none of my Real Life friends are not on. I value their input 1st before some random person I met on the interwebs.

Getting past the Friend finder, I attempt to register for a couple artists that I want to follow. I start off with their suggestion for Dave Mathews Band. Hey, Under The Table Dreaming, was like the anthem to my 1995. My knee-jerk response is, this has potential. I can see some simple posts by the band about Tours, Music, and Videos from the band and comments from their fans. Honestly, most of the posts are pictures from their current tour. OK, this is starting to look like all the other social networking sites now.  It even has it's own comment bombers that want to peddle their get-rich-quick schemes. I followed Jack Johnson as Ping suggested and I see several comments to his posts about how to get a free iPhone.

In my few hours of exposure to this feature of iTunes, I'm at a lose of how they are going to bring something new to the social networking environment. As I mentioned before there are several existing behemoths that do this job well. I'm reminded of LastFM and their format. They allow their users to discover new music, follow the artists tour schedules and even has a wiki like interface for fans to dump their knowledge about the band. LastFM also allows the users to listen for free. Apple, why didn't you just partner with them? There's an existing user base with lots of content?

That brings me to my point; this experiment into social networking via iTunes brings no value add for me. I've already spent the time on other sites like Facebook's Liked pages, MySpace Music, and LastFM to want to recreate in Ping. The current Ping user base is not very helpful and the artists that are using it are few. I think Ping might have some growing up to do before it becomes useful. I think I"ll let it sit for a month and come back to it and see what it's become.

Additional Links:

iTunes Ping:



MySpace Music:


Dave Mathews Band:

Jack Johnson:

Netflix iOS goodness

Netflix Logo I've been using the new Netflix iOS application on my iPhone for a couple weeks now. Initially released on Thursday, August 28, 2010.  This is a wonderful addition to my already growing application library on my iPhone. This app allows you to access the Netflix Instant Streaming library of Movies, TV Shows, and Documentaries .

Cost of the App:

The Netflix iOS application is available for iPhone and iPod touch in the App Store for free. Who doesn't like free? I also have a Slingbox. To access it, via my iPhone,  I needed to purchase the SlingPlayer Mobile app ($29.99 USD) plus the cost of the Slingbox device.  When looking at how much a somewhat similar application costs to access a device you had already purchased, free is a great move by Netflix. This allows more people who do not have a Netflix account consider joining.

Netflix :

To access the content, you will need to have a Netflix account. The most basic Netflix account allows you access to 1 DVD out at-a-time and unlimited instant access for $8.99 USD per Month. Don't bother with the Limited account, you won't have access to the instant streaming library.

I've been a Netflix member for a while now and I have to say the online library gets better with each week. There have been recent agreements with studios that allow their content to be streamed online increasing the quality of the content avoidable to users.


I've had the pleasure of using the app for a couple weeks now. I've tried it out on both by home wireless network and the AT&T 3G network. I have to say, it works well. The online content streams at a resolution of 480 x 360. On my iPhone 3Gs this looks great. I can notice some jagged edges, but the normal everyday user won't see those imperfections. On a mobile device, watching online content in HD resolution is a waste. It would cause a lot more bandwidth to stream the content and the mobile device size wouldn't do it justice. The only other reason to upscale the resolution would be to connect your iPhone to a TV.

Netflix iOS Application - Home

The interface is rather easy to use. The layout is simple which is good. When you start the application, you are brought to the Home menu which displays Netflix's categorized recommendation to you. If you don't want to view those recommendations there is a option to browse via Genre. If you are looking for something specific, there is a Search option available.  You also have access to your pre-existing Instant Queue. All of these feature work as they well as they should. The only improvement I would recommend to Netflix is to add the functionality of using the horizontal on screen keyboard instead of slaving me to making spelling errors with the vertical one.

Pushing Daisies Title

I've been using the Pushing Daisies: Season 1 content as my test for this application. Using my home WiFi connection, the content load quickly and streams well. I also turn off my WiFi connection on my iPhone and do see a slight degradation in quality of the picture, but not enough to lessen my enjoyment. It's so insignificant that a normal person wouldn't see it. So big kudos to Netflix for the online content on the iPhone. The only issue that have is with switching from WiFi to 3G on the same episode. When I stopped the playback and changed to the 3G network, the app seams to have an issue with picking up where it left off. Sometimes it's able to correct itself, but often I'm having to start the show over again.

One last warning. If you already have a Netflix account and have several Netflix approved streaming devices (PS3, XBOX, Roku, Approved TV... etc.) you want to make sure you haven't reached your limit. Netflix allows for 6 devices to stream online content. Using your preferred browser counts as a streaming device. I was surprised to find out that when I added my iPhone I maxed out and was not able to watch the online content from my browser unless I removed one of the devices from my profile.


I would recommend this app to anyone who has an iPhone and unlimited data plan. If you don't have unlimited data, you don't want to be wasting your data minutes on watching movies at work, on the bus, or on the train.  Go out there and get it! Watch some good movies on your iPhone and recommend some to me.

Additional Links:


Official Netflix Blog:

Sling Media: