Posts by Mikhail Madnani

15 Years Since Mick Foley Got Thrown Off the Hell in a Cell Cage by The Undertaker

I’ve nearly stopped paying attention to everything happening in the WWE anymore but this match will never be forgotten. Even the most casual of wrestling fans will remember this match from King Of The Ring back in 1998. It was beyond insane. Mick Foley (Mankind) has gone through way too much shit in his wrestling career and I haven’t stopped respecting him after this match. The fact that this happened 15 years ago also makes me feel old. This was also a year before 1999 that had the Attitude Era at its peak. Good times.

Jim Guthrie’s first album in 10 years

For those who don’t know, I’ve been a huge Jim Guthrie fan since I first heard his soundtrack from #sworcery. I also love his Indie Game : The Movie soundtrack that can be heard here. He most recently did amazing music for one set of stages in the PSN game Sound Shapes. You can stream one song from his upcoming album, “The Rest is Yet to Come” on the CBC website. The album features artwork by Cory Schmitz who has done way too much good stuff here.

The album will be released digitally and also on CD and Vinyl on May 7th. I can’t wait to preorder it. If you enjoyed the Sword & Sworcery soundtrack, you should thank Jim on twitter.


I never thought I’d get annoyed by anything more than blind fanboys who don’t even use their own “hero” platform properly. By properly I mean they just use the stock apps which is a waste anyway. You’ve probably read at least one post on how someone “switched” to another platform and has finally “seen the light”. My problem is not with someone using another mobile or desktop operating system. It is in the aftermath.

It starts with the blogpost that almost always begins with a “I used to be a _____ fanboy and have been using their products since before your grandparents were born so my opinion is supposed to be more important than anything!”. I get that there’s freedom of speech and people are allowed to express their opinions but it has come to the point where this shit has annoyed me into writing this post. The posts usually go on to highlight flaws in their previously loved platform which were justified earlier obviously because “MY PLATFORM IS BEST PLATFORM”. It usually doesn’t end here. People will always try and justify purchases made because they spent their hard earned money on something. This is where the overcompensation begins. You start to see more posts and tweets with stuff like “By golly I just got 2 months of battery life on a single charge and my phone repaired my car last week!”. This stuff is more annoying than a close talker. Please stop doing it for the love of whoever the CEO is of your favourite company right now.

Yes. You want to think your purchase was justified and is a great deal. Enjoy your new device. Everyone should try out other platforms if possible. I learnt that in the last few years. Don’t stoop lower than a sponsored journalist “reviewing” products. Congrats on deciding to try something new. Keep it in your pants next time.

Minecraft : The Story Of Mojang

Saying I was into LEGO as a kid would be an understatement. LEGO was always amazing and I can’t imagine not having spent hours building stuff with LEGO bricks. I even went to LEGOLAND once. It is really sad to see them resort to just movie franchise stuff now. The imagination is gone for the most part. LEGO right now is in the same state as physical books. The difference being Minecraft will soon replace LEGO completely. Minecraft is the LEGO of today.

I just watched Minecraft : The Story of Mojang last night and it blew my mind. The amount of time being spent with Minecraft in schools for educational purposes is amazing. It is a great creative outlet for everyone. I’m glad there is a modern replacement for LEGO for the current generation. Just spend 5 minutes on google searching for Minecraft creations and you will see what teamwork online can do. People have created functioning ALUs and the Starship Enterprise to scale in Minecraft. I look forward to playing Minecraft being extremely late to the party as usual.

Thank you 2 Player Productions and Mojang for this documentary and Minecraft. You can buy it here or download it on The Pirate Bay here. 2 Player Productions has uploaded it to The Pirate Bay for reasons stated on the torrent page. It is a very bold move and I fully approve.

iTunes Music and Films Are Now Available in India

9to5Mac posted about iTunes Music going live in Turkey and Lebanon about 5 hours ago ahead of the iTunes event in Russia. I’m beyond excited because Music and Films are now available in India as well. The pricing is great. Songs are about $0.22-$0.27 (12-15 rupees) each. Films are available to rent in HD for $2.2 (120 rupees) and to buy in HD for $9 (490 rupees). Unfortunately paid books aren’t available here as yet. One step at a time.

It is good to see Apple pricing their media here sensibly. Flyte by Flipkart has similar prices and only allows you to download your songs 3-4 times and many songs don’t have proper tags and artwork. Buying on iTunes is a much better deal with no download limit and proper tagging with album artwork. iTunes Match is live at 1200 rupees a year Go ahead and launch that previously useless iTunes App on your iOS device and enjoy yourself. The catalogue is pretty great right now. Also you can finally use Recall in India now.

Pink Floyd’s Discovery Box available for under $14 digitally

Flipkart’s Flyte MP3 store has had quite a few good deals going on in the last few weeks. This is by far the best one. You can get 149 Pink Floyd tracks (320kbps) for less than $14* (Rs.709) legally today only. I already have the albums on vinyl and CD but if you’re a Pink Floyd fan and want their music, there is no cheaper way of obtaining almost every song of theirs legally.

Flyte also has some other deals on EMI artists like Coldplay. They also have apps for iOS and Android that let you download the songs directly to your device.

*As of now Flyte MP3s are only available in India.

But the iPad is only a content consumption device right?

Ever since the iPad 1 was launched, some people have labelled it a content consumption device only. I think they say that because the platforms they use have basically no tablet apps barring a few social networking applications and media players. The Apogee Jam has been around for a while. It lets you connect any guitar to your iOS device or Mac with a high quality interface for use with Garageband. It is flexible and great for people who already have guitars. Garageband is unmatched in its abilities on tablets. The Squier USB Stratocaster launched by Fender is not only inexpensive ($200 for the guitar and USB to 30 pin dock wire) but also a great first guitar for anyone with an iOS device. I can picture this with an iPod touch under many christmas trees this year. The Fender Squier USB Stratocaster is available exclusively in Apple Stores.

The Android Tablet Conundrum

This post is limited to the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 because the other Android tablets are not worth talking about or existing.

After releasing the Nexus 7, I have noticed many popular apps getting updated for a tablet UI. The Nexus 7 is very popular and is selling well. The tablet app ecosystem on Android is growing, albeit very slowly.

The Jellybean tablet UI is pretty much the phone UI stretched unlike the ICS tablet UI. This is both a good and a bad thing. It is good because now nexus tablet and phone owners will have a similar UI on both devices. It is bad because people used to the ICS tablet UI earlier have to go back to the phone UI. Google can get away with a phone UI on a 7 inch tablet because most apps are just phone apps stretched to a large screen but on a 10 inch device like the Nexus 10 that will be released soon, apps that have no tablet UI will look terrible. That tablet was made to be used in landscape mode anyway. The Nexus 10 has an insane resolution that is higher than the 3rd/4th generation iPad. It has the resolution you see on most 27″ displays today. I think Google jumped the gun here. While this is a great screen and for the price will be a great tablet for media and games, you could probably count the apps that will work well on this screen on one hand. The Nexus 10 will either encourage developers to work on a tablet UI for larger screens or just slowly die like the other large screen Android tablets. Another thing I don’t understand is why it took google so long to release an update that enabled landscape mode for the Nexus 7. I was shocked that this wasn’t possible on the stock launcher. I used Nova Launcher Prime to enable landscape mode for the homescreen but the lockscreen remained in portrait mode until the recent 4.1.2 update. You should also consider getting that for your Android device if you like using gestures on your device. From the looks of it the Nexus 10 is to be used only in Landscape mode which sucks because tablets should be flexible. The iPad works perfectly in both orientations thanks to its aspect ratio.

Duarte has brought tons of good things to Android and if it weren’t for him, I probably would have never considered buying an Android device let alone owning and liking one. Google recently introduced tablet UI design guidelines. While this is a good thing, Google is not doing their part by featuring apps using these guidelines. The “Staff Picks for Tablets” section on Google Play is full of games and barely any apps with a UI designed for tablets. I still don’t understand why they don’t feature more apps that use their Holo design. Why feature only apps that sell when you want your ecosystem to grow with quality and not garbage like Beautiful Widgets? I can only hope that with the introduction of the Nexus 10 this month, Google ups their game on Google Play. Apple is known to feature apps that take advantage of new hardware. They have a separate section in the App Store for this with every launch. Featuring games and a few sub par apps while other great apps like TV Show Favs that work beautifully on tablets will only prove how weak the ecosystem really is.

Releasing Nexus tablets is something they should have done a long time ago. Featuring quality apps and not just popular apps will only help the ecosystem grow. Google, please feature apps that adhere to your guidelines because I want the tablet ecosystem to grow. The developers are working but Google needs to showcase their work being put in for a better tablet experience.

On Tweetbot, Tapbots, Paying for Twitter Clients, Tweetbot for Mac Pricing and the Future of Twitter

After TUAW posted prematurely about Tweetbot for Mac and revealed the price, all hell pretty much broke loose with people including yours truly complaining about the price. I overreacted at that time but after thinking about the price, the developers and the platform, I felt the need to write a post about all of it.

On Tweetbot
When I joined Twitter, I used Twitterrific and eventually moved to the official iPhone app when it was released. I also heard a lot about Tweetbot which was supposed to be the best Twitter experience bar none. I bought it for $3. I am yet to regret that purchase. As far as I’m concerned, Tweetbot is Twitter for me. I have tried other apps and hated them all. Nothing comes close to it. I also bought it on the iPad. It makes me want to use Twitter more. The sounds and gestures are all amazing and I can’t imagine Twitter without any of them. Having a powerful muting system is a huge added bonus because my timeline gets filled with stupid brands promoting their stupid crap through stupid people.

On Tapbots
I never paid attention to their apps barring Tweetbot for iPhone when I bought it. When I met Preshit and saw every tapbot app on his phone, I asked why he got em all. He told me to use them and see for myself. I ended up buying every tapbot app in the store that night. I love their apps. I even bought Netbot for iOS on iPad and iPhone. I don’t really care for them as people but they make great apps. People who don’t use their apps probably think it is all overpriced. I disagree. Convertbot makes you want to convert stuff for no reason just to gaze at the pixels.

On Paying for Twitter Clients
Most people are shocked at the very thought of paying for Twitter clients. I’ve heard stuff like “Twitter is free so Twitter apps should be free” and “why should I pay for this here when I already bought it there”. My logic is simple. If something improves your experience with something else considerably, it is worth the cost. I know people who use Tweetbot for iPhone on the iPhone and iPad. I really love both apps. I use them a lot. I have invested into other Twitter apps on iOS and Windows Phone. There is nothing close to Tweetbot on iOS. Windows Phone has some great apps like Mehdoh that are full of great functionality. I am yet to buy one on Android because barring Twidere that is open source, the apps are all garbage. If you think Twitter apps should be free, use the terrible official apps that suck on every platform. Tapbots are smart. Twitter has gone from having great apps after acquiring Tweetie to absolute garbage. Tapbots have put their Twitter apps on sale after the official apps changed for the worse and made money out of it. I’m glad more people bought their apps because the Tapbots Twitter experience is the best Twitter experience. To the people complaining about having to pay for the same app on different platforms as opposed to a universal app, think of how much effort goes into designing for different devices categories. While it may not matter to you, developers spend time and work hard to make their apps work well on different devices. The very fact that people are willing to sit through promoted tweets and ads in their timeline in apps that have almost no features just proves to you why Twitter thinks they can get away with the bullshit they are pulling with their latest API rules.

On the Future of Twitter
Twitter has put a token limit on all existing apps and new apps. Their new API basically takes away tons of features that we have grown to use often. Twitter started off as a geeky platform for people who were sick of Facebook for the most part and now it is becoming the very platform the early adopters despise. The very fact that App dot Net exists proves that there are users who are willing to pay for the ability to have an ad free experience with good third party clients. The new API limitations basically kill all 3rd party development on Twitter apps and how this will change in the future is yet to be seen. I started using Twitter with 3rd party apps and still continue to do so because of 3rd party apps. At the rate Twitter is going, it looks like the only way to tweet without resorting to garbage official apps is through the native iOS integration. This is something I love about Netbot for iOS. Cross posting to Twitter bypassing their stupid rules using native iOS integration.

On Tweetbot for Mac Pricing and the Future
Tweetbot for Mac was released as a public alpha for free. Tons of users enjoyed it and continued to use it into the beta. Tapbots had to block more tokens getting created to make sure they have enough for a Mac App Store release. The app finally released today and is priced at $19.99. This price seems excessive and the reasoning behind it is something that most end users don’t care about. I have been using it since day one and absolutely love it. It is feature packed and the gestures work well on the magic trackpad. The question here is not about investing into Tapbots but investing into Twitter as a platform when 3rd party apps are slowly being killed off. My favourite app on Android is Twidere and they have had to implement rate limiting for timeline refreshing. It is really annoying. Twitter is forcing you into using their official crap. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed by Tapbots. They say that the price is justified because of the lower number of probable app users which means less money. So a higher price will ensure support for a long time. I am completely confident in them to support the app but am not confident at all in Twitter as a platform for 3rd party apps. When it comes to updating the app from the Mac App Store, I want to know how they will continue to update an app that cannot be downloaded by new users after the token limit is reached. Also wont people using the pirated version of the app use tokens? A higher price means less users jumping in so a longer period of the token pool lasting. The choice of going Mac App Store makes sense because there’s no other way to implement iCloud integration and the sync Tweetbot has across all devices is great. Echofon was $20 at one point with a free version that had ads and that app has nowhere near the functionality that Tweetbot has.

Investing so much into a platform that is killing off 3rd party apps slowly is a tough decision. Investing into Tapbots is not a bad idea given their track record. I’d love for this app to be able to post to App Dot Net and Twitter but apparently Twitter has another rule about this that doesn’t allow it. I for one will be investing into Tweetbot for Mac simply because I can’t shift to an app like TweetDeck or god forbid, the web. While Twitter is slowly killing off apps and features power users love, App Dot Net is slowly flourishing with some great apps on every platform including Android. The choice is yours. If you decide to buy Tweetbot for Mac, it is available on the Mac App Store for $19.99.

[Masthead via Jorge]