Apple’s iBooks Author licensing terms

I’m surprised by the fuss about Apple’s iBooks Author licensing terms. The terms prevent you from selling your iBooks Author-created works outside of the iBooks Store (although they can be distributed for free). You can still export and repurpose the content therein, but you can’t sell the complete, packaged layout file created by iBooks Author in another store.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me, for three reasons.

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Ignored keypresses when typing on iPad

The iPad has a reputation for being difficult to type on. It’s generally accepted that the iPad is okay for short emails and notes, but is not suited to longer documents. The anecdotal consensus seems to be that an on-screen keyboard, with no tactile feedback, leads to more errors than a physical keyboard with real keys. Based on my research today, I’m not sure that this is the case. Instead, it may be a bug in the iPad’s keyboard software that is causing some of the typing errors.

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Our Choice: “The Next Generation of Digital Books”

Publishing has had many saviours in recent years. Apple, Amazon and Google have all been touted as potential messiahs by an industry desperate to work out its role in an uncharted digital world.

Big technology companies haven’t been the only saviours. Small independent producers such as Touch Press and Inkling have experimented with the boundaries between books and apps, with interesting results.

Today sees another entry into the Future of Publishing, launched with considerable fanfare by Al Gore and Push Pop Press. Our Choice, the sequel to 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth, claims it will “change the way we read books, and quite possibly change the world.”

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Exporting emails from Entourage to Outlook

I’ve recently had to export a bunch of emails from Entourage and into Outlook, in order to send them to someone in a format they can browse and read on a PC.  You’d think that exporting a selection of emails from one Microsoft email management tool to another would be easy, right?  Sadly not.  Thankfully, a bit of Applescript and a relatively cheap utility got things working for me.  This post describes how.

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How to detect if an iPhone OS device can make phone calls

I’ve struggled to find a way to deduce if an iPhone OS device has the ability to make phone calls or not. There is a way to do so in iPhone OS 3.0, but I want to compile my code against the OS 2.0 SDK to enable it to run on as many devices as possible.  I could just check if the device is an iPod Touch or an iPhone, but who knows what weird and wonderful iPhone OS-based devices Apple might release in the future, and I’d like my check to be future-proof.  So I’ve come up with a hybrid way of detecting the device’s ability to make calls.  This post describes the approach I’m using.
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QuickTime X plays movies full screen for free

According to the latest reports from WWDC, QuickTime X finally brings the one feature that’s been missing for years: full-screen playback for non-Pro users.  It’s long been a bugbear of QuickTime users and developers that you have to buy QuickTime Pro to play movies at full screen.  It looks as though QuickTime X (currently being demoed with Snow Leopard) finally removes this restriction.

Core Location extensions for bearing and distance

As part of a recent iPhone project, I needed to find a point at a certain distance from one location in the direction of a second location.  I found the formulas I needed on Movable Type Ltd’s scripts page, and converted these into the appropriate Obj-C code to run on an iPhone using the iPhone SDK.

I’m posting the code with permission from Chris Veness of Movable Type Ltd., in case anyone else finds this useful.  The three functions have been created as a category implementation for the CLLocation class.
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An alternative interface for filtering on the iPhone

I’m developing a new iPhone application. Part of the application needs a “filter a list of things” view. I’ve been looking at Apple’s approach for inspiration, most notably the Contacts application. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Contacts approach absolutely sucks, and so I’ve developed my own custom interface instead. This article describes the problems with Contacts, and the alternative approach that I’ve implemented for my own application.
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