Entries for August 2008

August 25, 2008

5 More Remainder Ideas

Last summer, I posted my Top 5 Remainder Ideas, a sample of the many ideas I’d jotted down as potential posts but decided weren’t worth fleshing out for one reason or another. Instead of letting them wallow in obscurity, I purged them in one post. Well, it’s time to do it again. Here are 5 more ideas that didn’t get fleshed out enough to stand on their own.

Remainder Idea #5: TypOs Cerael

There are a lot of “O”s cereal names out there: Cheerios, Toasty-Os, etc. I had this idea that there should be a Typos Cereal. It would be made of all the letters of the alphabet, like Alpha Bits cereal, but you wouldn’t spell anything correctly with it. I only got as far as this rough illustration before I remembered that “O”s cereals don’t use the whole alphabet. They only use the letter O. Then I considered a soup called “Type O” Soup. It’s tomato soup with alphabet noodles. But that’s just too many layers of wordplay.

Remainder Idea #4: “Dear Juno”

At the end of the movie Juno (spoiler alert), Juno gives her baby up for adoption. I found myself wondering what will happen, fourteen years later, when that little girl decides she wants to know more about her birth mother. Her mom will say, “I guess you’re old enough to know that shortly after you were born, some people made a movie about how you came to be with me. The movie is called Juno, which is your birth mother’s name.” So the kid watches the movie, and then goes through the proper channels to get Juno’s mailing address. She sits down and writes a letter to her birth mother where she says she has so many questions now that she’s seen the movie. Questions like, “If your hamburger phone worked so poorly, why didn’t you just get a normal phone?”

Remainder Idea #3: Unsuccessful Children’s Books

I once doodled a drawing of Clifford the Big Red Log. I figured that must be the most dull children’s book ever. Then I began imagining other unsuccessful children’s books like Charlie and the Chalk Factory, Reverend Horton Heat Hears The Who, and The Berenstein Bears (about a family of burly gay men).

Remainder Idea #2: An Armored Bear Rug

Did you see The Golden Compass? I don’t advocate killing animals to decorate your home, but I couldn’t help imagining that those Armored Bears would make great rugs. Throw a cushion on the big helmeted head and you’ve got a nice seat, too.

Remainder Idea #1: The other Six Degrees of Separation

We’ve all heard the theory that every person on this planet is separated by every other person by six degrees. But one day I realized that something else is separated by six degrees. Every minute on a clock face is separated from the previous and next minute by six degrees. I think there might be something interesting that an be done with that concept. I tried coming up with a clock design incorporating the idea, playing with the six on the bottom of the clock in the designs, but I wasn’t crazy about anything I came up with.

Bonus Remainder Idea: Blabacus, the Blogging Abacus

I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote down “Blabacus, the Blogging Abacus.” I must have though it was a good enough idea to write it down, but now I just stare at it wondering what I could have possibly been thinking of. Blabacus the Blogging Abacus. Is that an Abacus that has a blog? Is that an Abacus that is used as a tool for blogging? I have no idea.

August 12, 2008

Idea: How I would do iPhone cut and paste

I know, I’m late to the party. The internet has already had plenty of discussions about the iPhone’s lack of cut and paste, and many proposals for how it could be implemented. Some people suggest complicated multitouch gestures, double-taps, or buttons with pop-up submenus you slide your finger over. Others change the iPhone’s default behavior too much. These aren’t intuitive to me. I want a solution that’s easy to use and doesn’t get in my way. It’s there when I need it, and it disappears when I don’t.

Now that I’ve had a chance to play with the iPhone for a while, I’ve come up with my own proposal. I don’t know how to make a working demo, so I’ve made some screenshots to help explain my concept. I think it feels natural, while being simple and unobtrusive.

Let’s start with some text so we have something to work with:

Holding your finger on a word currently brings up a Magnifying Glass that helps you place a cursor where you want it. My suggestion: Whenever you go into Magnify mode, the bottom row of the keyboard is replaced by one large “Hold to Select” button.

Using this button to select text should feel familiar because the action is the same as selecting text on a Macbook’s Trackpad. I normally use one hand with a Trackpad, but I find using two hands with the iPhone feels surprisingly natural because my thumb is already in a good position to press the button:

If you only move the cursor without pressing the “Hold to Select” button, the bottom row returns to normal when you let go. But if you do select text, then the “Hold to Select” button is replaced by four new buttons: Cut, Copy, Paste, and Cancel.

After you make your choice, the action is carried out and the bottom row returns to normal. I’ve selected “Cut” in this example.

When I’m ready to paste, I once again use the Magnifying Glass to place the cursor. The “Hold to Select” button comes up again but I’m not going to press it this time (although if you want to replace text, you can select a whole block of words to paste over).

If I I had nothing in my clipboard, then the bottom row would go back to normal when I release the Magnifying Glass since I didn’t select any text. But I do have something in the clipboard, so I my options are shown again.

I select “Paste” and the word in my clipboard is inserted at the cursor. The keyboard bottom row returns to normal.

In the preferences, I can decide when I want the clipboard to be cleared out. I think it makes sense to empty your clipboard every time you paste, but other options are useful in case you need to paste the same text multiple times.

This method of cut and paste also works with non-editable text where you don’t have a keyboard. If you want to copy text from Safari, for example, you hold your finger in one spot until the magnifying glass comes up. The “Hold to Select” button slides into place from below [animated gif], temporarily covering the navigation bar. Because the text is not editable, the paste and cut buttons will be inactive.

That’s the best cut/paste implementation I could think of. It doesn’t change the iPhone’s current behavior and it doesn’t get in the way. It’s clear and easy to use. What do you think?

August 6, 2008

I See Darth Vader

I’ve never been a fan of hotel room coffee, but it’s better than nothing. However I was a bit surprised to find Darth Vader hiding in this coffee maker recently.

Previously: I See AT-AT Walkers