October 18, 2011
iOS 5 for tots: Quick pro/con
I want Robert Shaw from Jaws to describe my morning as he would a shark attack: “Up comes a reminder on the iPad and the Netflix stops streamin’, and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’…” Yeah, it got ugly. (Sorry, other conference call participants.)
Good news, though: You can now go into Settings->Notifications, find the Calendar app, and set the notification type from Alert (which interrupts the video) to Banner. Now our guys can watch their morning Mighty Machines without going ballistic when it pauses.
On the downside, here’s an intriguing little bit of usability research: Finn is often generating four-finger “swipes” (new in iOS 5 for switching apps) when simply trying to drag on the screen. While coloring in lines in the aforementioned Harold, he’d push hard and his little knuckles would register as multitouch swipes. Thus he’d start switching apps, bringing up the list of apps, etc. Who knew?
As always, I pine for Apple to introduce multi-user support in iOS. Now in the kids’ profile I’ll add “disabling global swipe gestures” to “making it harder to exit the app via the Home button,” “disallow scary stuff on YouTube,” etc.
Update: Double who-knew: BubCap home button covers “are just rigid enough to keep toddlers from pressing the home button, yet flexible enough that adults can activate the button with a firm push.” [Via Iván Cavero Belaunde]
A beautifully simple iPad app for kids
The Micronaxx (ages 3.5 & 2) spent the weekend transfixed by Harold & the Purple Crayon, a narrated version of the classic children’s book. I’ve previously shied away from elaborate, high-concept kids book-apps, figuring they distract instead of encouraging imagination. In this case, though, simplicity is key, and the lovely hidden little treats (e.g. a little crab that pops out of the sand, or–yes–a burping porcupine) are delightful.
Eye-popping tech for inserting 3D objects into photos
“With a single image and a small amount of annotation,” writes researcher Kevin Karsch, “our method creates a physical model of the scene that is suitable for realistically rendering synthetic objects.” Fascinating:
Check out the project site for much more detailed info. [Via Zorana Gee]