What Is a Card?

Khoi Vinh has a great introduction to software cards for presentation and rich content:

Even as the notion of cards as the next big software interaction paradigm continues to gain momentum, it hasn’t gotten much easier to explain to the uninitiated what, exactly, a card is. When asked this question, I find it hard not to ramble on at great length, and even harder to avoid using technical jargon, which usually produces diminishing returns in conversations with “normal people.”

Make sure to check out his Pinterest board for screenshots of card UIs and see what they actually look like.

While I don't rely on many card-based apps or web services, I do believe that Twitter cards are largely underrated and ignored by people who use third-party Twitter clients, which can't display cards.

In my limited experience, setting up a MailChimp card for our MacStories Weekly newsletter doubled our number of subscribers thanks to its design and ease of use. With Twitter Cards, the link I shared appeared as a card inside Twitter timelines with an interactive signup form to subscribe with one click.

That's a powerful idea, potentially applicable to hundreds of web services and publishers that are sharing content on Twitter. I'm definitely planning to explore cards more for MacStories.

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“Wacky Mobile Cases Have Become a Serious Business”

Adam Welch, writing at The Financial Times (via Ben Evans):

The wacky phone case made its catwalk debut at Jeremy Scott’s inaugural show for Moschino autumn/winter 2014. In keeping with the rest of the collection – kitsch, colourful, cute – it was shaped to resemble a packet of French fries.

I was in Porto Cervo last month, and I saw a Moschino boutique with the French fries case mentioned in the article. Initially, I thought it was silly, but then I looked around and all my friends and people who were checking out the store were pointing out how cool that case was because it was funny and unique.

While I'm not a case person, I've noticed an increase in popularity of these “wacky” phone cases – for iPhones and Android phones – over the past year. The numbers seem to prove that, just like old Nokia phones, the smartphone cover/case as a lifestyle accessory is back.

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iOS 8 and Web Views

WKWebView is the centerpiece of the modern WebKit API introduced in iOS 8 & Mac OS X Yosemite. It replaces UIWebView in UIKit and WebView in AppKit, offering a consistent API across the two platforms.

Boasting responsive 60fps scrolling, built-in gestures, streamlined communication between app and webpage, and the same JavaScript engine as Safari, WKWebView is one of the most significant announcements to come out of WWDC 2014.

Mattt Thompson has a handy technical overview of the changes coming to web views (such as webpages opened from your Twitter timeline or an RSS app) in iOS 8. In testing a bunch of iOS 8 apps, I can tell that the difference in terms of performance from iOS 7 is noticeable (and extremely welcome).

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iTunes Festival Schedule Updated with New Acts, Apple TV Channel Available Again

The eighth annual iTunes Festival is on again from September 1st, and in anticipation of the month-long festival, Apple has again updated the schedule with new musical acts. The schedule is now mostly complete, with headline acts announced for all but two of the thirty days. Some of the recent additions have included deadmau5, Ed Sheeran, Placebo and Mary J. Blige amongst others. You can view the full iTunes Festival schedule here.

Apple also appears to have made the iTunes Festival channel available on the Apple TV once again overnight. The channel will let you view performances live and on demand during the festival, as well as view the full schedule. The other way to watch the iTunes Festival is through the iOS app or iTunes.


Dropbox 3.3

The latest update to the official Dropbox app for iOS, version 3.3, adds a series of welcome improvements. For one, Dropbox has added support for better state restoration, which means the app should remember your position across relaunches (seems like a trivial addition, but Dropbox has long ignored my last-open folder. This, in its seemingly unimportant nature, improves the app dramatically).

Second, Dropbox now comes with better caching, which should use less data and disk space. I still believe that apps should always offer a manual “Empty Cache” feature (Spotify's cache, for instance, constantly goes above 1 GB with no manual controls besides deleting and reinstalling the app), but I'm glad that Dropbox is addressing this issue.

Dropbox 3.3 is available on the App Store.

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