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Plug Two

This will be appearing sometime in 2015. When Yosemite was revealed it was clear we'd have to change the style of the app to fit in with the new UI. But it also gave us an opportunity to rebuild things, make the app smoother and add features people had been asking for. I'm using an early build from Alex (the developer) and it's incredibly fast, thanks to a rewrite in Apple's new Swift language and a bit of rethinking.

The first thing you'll notice is the lack of track art. In the current app this is never consistent as it's loaded in from the top search engine result, so it's not useful in helping identify tracks over time. In place of that in the Popular section, a mini-graph shows momentum in a track's popularity; whether it's on the up or down, and how fast it's getting there. Other sections will use that left area to show the number of likes.

We're experimenting with a few new sections too. We want users to be able to see Blogs, Genres and Friends for them to explore Hype Machine and not be restricted to popularity. We also want users to be able to click on any track or artist and explore the remixes or other songs, just like on Hype. You can see some additional teasers on Dribbble, such as a new way of seeing track info, the Blogs view and a new app icon (the lightning bolt is dead!).

It's brilliant to see people including Plug in their daily routine. We'll work to get this over to you next year, and we appreciate the support, suggestions and patience.

Plug Beta

Well over a year ago I designed a concept for a native OS X Hype Machine player just to see how one might fare, and if anyone was interested in it. I've used Hype Machine more in the last 3 years than Rdio, Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes because there's a lot of good remixes on there, and people are great at submitting the latest songs.

Alex Marchant got in touch, asking if he could use the .psd to try and get an actual build going. By the start of this year we had something that worked, was a little buggy, but did what we largely used Hype Machine for - the 'Popular' tab, which is pretty much like a radio of the latest tracks.

Since then we've had chats with Hype Machine themselves, progressing the design, and almost becoming the official app but deciding to stay separate while we test the waters. We're at a stage where it's a usable product with a few kinks and enhancements to be made.

Other sections that people are asking for like Feed, Blogs, Genres have been designed and may be added soon if time permits. It's a spare time project between the both of us but I'm glad the reception has been very warm, and users have been more than helpful in letting us know about bugs, and supplying suggestions.

If you're interested, go grab the latest beta!

Wii U Review - Tablet

The Wii U GamePad is surprisingly light, but there seems to be a reason for that — the battery only holds enough of a charge for approximately three hours of play given our experiences with the system over the last ten days.
— Polygon

Polygon reviewed the Nintendo's Wii U and have come out particularly disappointed with the new tablet controller. Most interestingly, it uses resistive touchscreen not allowing for multitouch input, and the battery is extremely lacking.

In the past resistive touchscreens have been favoured when accuracy is needed for single point touches, its advantage over capacitive touchscreens like on the iPad. However in Nintendo's case the input feels inaccurate and requires too much force to register.

The battery's 3 hour playtime is also considerably weaker than competing tablets, and may end up seeing the controller perennially plugged in. I imagine these hardware choices were made in favour of cost reduction, but it makes it hard for consumers to take the Wii U tablet experience seriously in an arena dominated by more robust tablets.

Microsoft Patent for Monitored Viewer Licensing

The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken.
— Patent 20120278904

Gaming news sources have been popping up with analysis of a patent filed by Microsoft, detailing a system whereby a video monitoring device (like the Kinect) could determine the amount of people attempting to view content and adjust availability depending on the licenses purchased.

I can understand the thought behind it: charge for the experience per person. However if anything like this was applied there'd be backlash unless prices dropped considerably. Not to mention the amount of people attempting to circumvent it.

It is being sensationalised as Orwellian technology. Journalists are dismissing that patenting something is often about making sure no one else can, and jumping to the more exciting conclusion that Microsoft intends on becoming Big Brother.