Free web music app imitates iPod Classic click wheel


Tanner Villarete's free music player web app simulates the classic iPod click wheel.
Tanner Villarete's free music player web app simulates the iPod Classic click wheel.
Photo: Tanner Villarete

The iPod’s iconic click wheel had a good run, launching in 2004 with the iPod mini. It joined the fourth-generation iPod’s design later that year. It even auditioned in the odd product concept over the years. Finally, in 2014, the company phased it out with the iPod Classic.

But nothing great is gone forever, as a free new web music player app shows.

Speedometer 2.0 lets you put your browser speed through its paces


A benchmark for modern web app responsiveness.
Photo: Apple

Apple has released Speedometer 2.0, a benchmark that lets you test your browser’s web app responsiveness. The tool is part of Apple’s contribution to WebKit, a collaboration between Apple, Adobe Systems, Google, KDE, and others.

Speedometer 2.0 works by simulating “user interactions.” Essentially, it runs 480 tasks and then measures how long it takes your browser’s speed in carrying these out, before providing you with a report.

How to use two powerful tools to collaborate on writing projects


Literature... and latte. Photo illustration Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


These days you can easily share data and collaborate on almost anything, from Rdio playlists to photo streams. But when it comes to plain old written text, your options are terrible. You’re pretty much caught between working on a shared file in Google Docs or shuttling versions of your work back and forth via email. Add more than one collaborator and this becomes a total nightmare.

Thankfully, tools exist to smooth the process of collaborating on writing projects. I’m currently editing the second draft of a novella, and I’m looking for a way to work with “beta” readers. I’m testing several pieces of software, and so far one called Draft is in the lead. Not only does it let you share a document with other people, it lets the team comment on any part of the source document and also allows them to edit a copy. Then, when they submit their versions, you can preview any changes before accepting or rejecting them.

Better still, because Draft can sync with a document in Dropbox (as well as several other cloud services), you can sync the edits from your beta team with a local app, like Scrivener. Here’s what you need to make the collaborative magic happen.

Google Brings Chrome Apps To iOS


Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 8.35.14 PM

Over the last couple of years, Google has been trying to turn its mobile Chrome browser into a sort of meta-operating system in its own right, by allowing Macs and PCs to run dedicated cross-compatible ‘apps’ right within Chrome. It’s actually a cool idea, but because of Apple’s closed iOS ecosystem, it’s been functionality that iPhone and iPad owners can’t take advantage of. But no longer. Google has just brought Chrome apps to iOS.

Apple Buys Particle, A Small HTML5 Web Development Company From San Francisco


Screen Shot 2012-10-16 at 10.35.54 PM

Apple rarely buys other companies, so when the Cupertino giant makes an acquisition, it’s worth noting. CNET is reporting that Apple has recently purchased Particle, a small creative consulting company based in San Francisco that specializes in HTML5 development. Particle is a relatively small firm, but it has done some big projects for companies like Google, Sony and even Apple.

What does the acquisition mean? While the reason behind the deal remains unknown, Apple likely wants the web talent from Particle.

USDA Rolls Out Thousands Of iPads, Says Other Tablets Don’t Measure Up


iPads help USDA service survey farmers and collect agriculture data across the country.
iPads help USDA service survey farmers and collect agriculture data across the country.

The USDA is working its way through an ambitious iPad deployment that may come to serve as a model for a range of government agencies within the U.S. and around the world. The challenge was to develop a simple, intuitive, and effective field survey and data collection system.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is a division of the USDA that is charged with surveying and reporting agricultural data across the country. NASS operates in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. With a staff of around 3,000 enumerators NASS conducts thousands of survey each year about agriculture across the country. The service has been operating since the mid-1800s and, until the iPad, it conducted surveys and collected data in pretty much the same way that it had back in the 19th century – with paper forms filled out by hand and mailed to various field offices. Although various technology initiatives have been tried by NASS since the 1980s, none was a successful fit before the iPad.