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Developing QuickTime Apps for iPod

iPod Hacks reports that Tim Monroe, a member of Apple’s QuickTime engineering team, recently wrote a how-to article titled “Snow Day: Developing QuickTime Applications for the iPod” in the April 2004 issue (vol. 20, no. 4) of MacTech Magazine. “In the article, Tim dispells the widely held belief that the iPod is a closed system and that writing custom applications for the device requires expensive and hard to obtain development tools. As the reader is taken through the process of developing an application from the ground up that will perform QuickTime movie playback on the iPod’s screen, it becomes clear that the iPod is a viable development platform indeed.” Unfortunately, the article turned out to be nothing more than a late-arriving April Fools joke, but an amusing one nonetheless.

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Comments

1

id like it if someone could follow this up, testing on different ipods. certainly not the case with mine, maybe only on a different firmware (other than the latest for 3rd generation ipods). but it does look rather like AFAIK

-Pete-

Posted by peter burkimsher on July 2, 2004 at 10:46 AM (CDT)

2

The comments over at iPodHacks.com suggest it’s an April fools joke, but it’s a little late for that. I’m reading through it right now, and it doesn’t seem at all like a joke. Too much detail to be made up. SOJOB IS a real language, I google’d it, even though it sounds suspicious.

Hmm if it is real, Apple could easily break third-party apps with a change of encryption or anythign else in an updated firmware. However, it looks very interesting.

Another thing, when he does the Terminal command “ls -laf” on the Device folder, he gets a lot more files then I do. I just get the standard Preferences (his is Prefs) and SysInfo. So either he’s using older firmeware, or older OS, or it’s not real at all.

Slimmed down version of OS X? More like pure Darwin, not OS X if you ask me. Built-in movie functions? Sounds a little too much for the iPod to handle. The screenshots aren’t proof they could be done in Photoshop easily.

At the end he says “The script needs to be encoded by adding 13 to the ASCII value of each character in the file.” but doesn’t give an easy way to do it. I know it’s not hard but would require maybe a little shell script or something to do which I don’t have enough knowledge in.

I guess someone will just have to try it out. The leaked Tiger screenshots were presumed to be fake, but they were real so who knows. :)

Posted by kainjow on July 2, 2004 at 10:46 AM (CDT)

3

quoting http://www.drissman.com/blog/archives/2004/06/15/mactechs_death_spiral.html

June 15, 2004

MacTech’s death spiral


Nicholas Riley notes the decline of MacTech. I’ve commented as well about particularly bad issues.


But, I got a new issue in the mail yesterday, and wow! I’d mock it except for the fact that it’s showing that MacTech is in real trouble. The kicker? An April Fools article.


I read it, and I came across the QuickTime series, in which Tim Monroe writes QuickTime movie players for many platforms. This month, his article claimed that the iPod is running Mac OS X, and proceeds to write a player, complete with pretty “screen shots”. I remember thinking that it was a cute article, but that it was a bit late in the year to be doing that.


Then I looked at the publication date. It’s the April 2004 issue.


It arrived mid-June.


Every other single magazine that had an April issue had it out in March. So MacTech is three months behind.


Ow. That hurts.


So long, MacTech. I’ll always fondly remember the good old days.
Posted by Avi at June 15, 2004 08:31 PM | TrackBack


Comments


Hey, at least you got the joke. Just today I received an email from a reader who wanted some help because he could not reproduce my results. No, I’m not kidding….


Your complaint about late-arriving issues is a valid one, but I’m not sure how that reflects on the content of the magazine. Is the info really that time-sensitive? No. Aside from the single April Fools article, all the other articles could reasonably have appeared in a June or July issue. Rest assured that all 12 issues will appear for each year.


I’m glad that you found the QuickTime article “cute”; that’s exactly what it was meant to be. More important, however, I’m sad that you seem so utterly disenchanted with the magazine. Not every article is a home run, but the Dave Mark and John Welch and Scott Knaster columns are always solid contributions. I just wish Vink would get off his b*tt and write more of the puzzle articles.
Posted by: Tim Monroe on June 17, 2004 02:55 AM

Posted by peter burkimsher on July 2, 2004 at 10:50 AM (CDT)

4

Just an FYI: that was a fake April Fools article in MacTech, its not true. Very well written with sample code and screenshots but its a complete fake.

Posted by Dave on July 2, 2004 at 10:51 AM (CDT)

5

i think the dead giveaway was that the ipod runs on a slimmed down version of OS X

Posted by jr on July 2, 2004 at 10:53 AM (CDT)

6

lol got me hehe. Ah well back to plain text files…

Posted by kainjow on July 2, 2004 at 10:55 AM (CDT)

7

I don’t think this artical is fake. SNOBOL is a real language, I learn it in shool many years ago. It was designed for manipulating texts using pattern matching. I guess it could be extended to do graphic as well.

Why can’t iPod run OS X? I used to run striped down Linux in a 386 pc with 32k memory a few years back. I am sure iPod is much more powerful than that.

Posted by sidssp on July 2, 2004 at 12:15 PM (CDT)

8

The author has confirmed it’s fake, but it’s based on many real things.

Posted by kainjow on July 2, 2004 at 12:27 PM (CDT)

9

“Built-in movie functions? Sounds a little too much for the iPod to handle. The screenshots aren’t proof they could be done in Photoshop easily.”

My friend, the four-year-old “audio only” Archos can now playback full 30fps video and it has about the same CPU as a washing machine. Teenage hackers added this capability.

I think with dual 90MHz ARM CPUs that the iPod could do a little better, don’t you?

Free the ipod! Open the OS! Apple are you listening?

Posted by Video on July 2, 2004 at 1:17 PM (CDT)

10

Yeah Apple open the OS! I want my iPod experience over-complicated and chock full of unstable 3rd party crap! I bought an iPod cause I wanted a PDA not cause I wanted a music player!

Posted by Biff on July 2, 2004 at 1:25 PM (CDT)

11

learn to read sidssp, i never said the iPod CAN’T run a slimmed down version of OS X. The fact is the iPod by default DOESN’T run any form of OS X, which the article claims.

Posted by jr on July 2, 2004 at 2:09 PM (CDT)

12

It’s a late April Fools joke people.  Seriously, I thought that iPod demographics suggested above-average intelligence. Guess I was wrong.

Posted by jeeves sobs on July 2, 2004 at 2:15 PM (CDT)

13

stop crying at apple to open the firmware, just go to http://ipodlinux.sf.net/
linux on the ipod, so much better (cept for music). video could be done, but its on a you-want-it you-code-it basis. it runs linux, with the sash shell. podzilla is a game, voice recording and file viewing application.
-Pete-

Posted by peter burkimsher on July 2, 2004 at 2:59 PM (CDT)

14

14 pages of details, code examples, historical notes, and not full of hidden jokes or jabs… even SNOBOL’s a real language apparently. At least they could have made it funny :D

Somebody did lot of work! Too bad that work didn’t result in an ACTUAL iPod app :)

I found the news surprising but I fell for it.

To my credit, at least I didn’t fall for those hokey Dashboard shots…

Posted by Nagromme on July 2, 2004 at 3:05 PM (CDT)

15

Yea, I definitely fell for it.  I have coded in SNOBOL and perhaps that is the elemenet that gave validity to this story.  It really didn’t have many zingers in it - for an April Fools story (that arrived in mid June) it could have been funnier.  I contacted the author prior to posting asking if I could get a copy of the app and he said he could not give it out due to Apple Legal.  He also sent me this long letter indicating that he had gottne permission from MacTech for me to post - an unprecedented granting, yada yada yada. 

Yea, I feel duped - but I think many would have and did fall for it.  I think some of the larger Mac news sites that picked up the story then dropped it are probably irritated, but it was an honest mistake on my part.  Ahh well.


blakespot

Posted by blakespot on July 2, 2004 at 3:21 PM (CDT)

16

aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii *dies from heart attack*

Posted by Uranus on July 2, 2004 at 6:29 PM (CDT)

17

SNOJOB isn’t a zinger to you? It’s only hilarious if you’re a Computer Science person - it had me laughing like a crazy man.

Posted by heh on July 2, 2004 at 8:52 PM (CDT)

18

SNOJOB was a joke clearly—but the article made it seem like it was a joke by APPLE—and that IS the kind of pun you might well find hidden deep in an Apple product. So that joke really wasn’t a giveway (and it’s about the only humor I could find in the article).

Posted by Nagromme on July 2, 2004 at 10:41 PM (CDT)

19

It was funny because it was comically unbelievable. Anyone who thinks it is plausible that Apple put a stripped down version of OS X on a device that only requires music navigation and playing really needs their head examined.

Posted by br- on July 3, 2004 at 12:34 AM (CDT)

20

“I want my iPod experience over-complicated and chock full of unstable 3rd party crap!”

Only someone who had never uses Rockbox could call it unstable. It’s like a rock. My iPod crashes sometimes, I have yet to see a Rockbox crash.

Or are you one of those Microsofties who somehow thinks that open-source software is buggier than closed-source software?

THe opposite is true - more eyes on the code means less bugs.

Have you compared the stability of Windows to Linux recently?

Posted by scaredycat on July 3, 2004 at 10:16 AM (CDT)

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