Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces

Using Shuffle without iTunes

This is a quick summary post; I want to emphasize two free, open-source apps with which you can fully use iPod Shuffle, without iTunes.

Apple StoreiPod shuffle database builder is great little app, mere 8kB in size, that makes the Shuffle as easy to use as any other MP3 player. Copy this program to Shuffle, copy your songs to Shuffle in any way and any structure you want, start rebuild_db.exe and…done. The songs are ready to use. There’s no ownership-transfer nonsense, no troubles, nothing. All software should be as this one.

There’s also a source code included - a small Perl script for your coding pleasure.

It sure made Sean Shrum happy, as he quickly followed with Shuffler - free random auto filler, effectively replacing iTunes’s Autofill option. It requires few minutes of setup, but it’s straight-forward to use after that. This application is also very small (236kB) and can be conviently kept on the Shuffle.

There’s no more excuse to use Wind…err, iTunes. iPod Shuffle is now really the best Flash disk/player in the market.

Overlapping Windows

I’m in danger of becoming tab-fanatic. It’s not my fault, really. All the stuff presented here, either as Sparks or hidden away as casual posts are the fruit or consequence of my day job. The curse of working the job you love is that you don’t leave it in the office. I encounter the problem and instead of working on it for few days, I take it home and finish it up in the wee hours.

And for some reason, I often encounter tabs. Tabs are self-contained and can easily be extracted from the layout where they are used. As such, they make perfect post-topic.

It’s hard to do something new in tabs domain. I thought that too when few months ago (yes, that’s how much it took me to write this) I looked for tabs that overlap each other. You see, all the various tab techniques around the Net, no matter how graphically different they are, share one common attribute. The linked parts of the tabs do not overlap, like the following well-known examples illustrate.

the usual lists

The area you hover will change only part of the screen occupied by li and/or a. It does not change anything outside that block. And I need to implement just such design.

overlapping tabs

Bahrain Grand Prix

Great racing today in Bahrain. :) Thanks to Pedro De La Rosa, entire event was very fun and exciting to watch. Spaniard, driving a very stable and fast McLaren, continually tried to overtake, made errors and recovered from them and eventually finished 5th. Particularly fun was his fight with Mark Webber in Williams, as Mark’s car had no problems and Williams outscored McLaren in previous two races.

Renault celebrates in Sakhir

Rounded corners

Rounded corners are one of the most sought-after graphical elements on the web. Hence we have a myriad of implementation with more or less bloated code. The reason is that you need four hooks to attach the four images needed for flexible boxes. With typical box markup of header plus paragraphs/lists, it can be hard to find appropriate elements, especially with outdated and buggy browser implementations.

Once you do away with browser constraints and develop for the best in the field, all the markup is 100% semantic.

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<div class="hifi">

<h2>Nice box<a name="anch2">with anchor</a></h2>

<p>And few...</p>

<p>paragraphs. </p>

</div>

div defines the box, h2 defines the header, p defines content and a defines fast-access URL point. Semantic, flexible and good looking. What else to ask for? Apart from browser support, nothing.