The Audion Story (and a design lesson)

The folks at Panic Software have a wonderful story up that, although it’s long, is really worth the read. It brings back memories of that heady period when everything seemed like a mystery over the horizon, when we felt like we could do *anything*. It has the “startup” story, the references to stuff that Mac users from the period will certainly remember and may have already forgotten, and some great insights about design.

Panic – Extras – The True Story of Audion

Audion, for Mac users of 1999-2001 or so, the MP3 player of choice. At least, among those of us who loved beautiful things on our desktops. It was Mac-like, through and through, with lovely attention to detail.

But when iTunes hit, it changed everything. As explained here:

iTunes was, of course, and I’ll say this now, brilliant. It single-handedly taught us an entirely new philosophy on software design. Do you really need that Preference that 1% of your users will use? Can you find a better way to design that interface than having each function in a separate window? Can you clean this up, even if it means it’s a little less flexible? iTunes blazed the trail for clean, efficient software design for a broad audience, a design philosophy we practice actively today. It was a way to take a complicated digital music collection, and make it easy. Sure, it was limited, but man was it easy.

I think we’re all still trying to learn this.

Quick Palm Documents in X

Just a quick note… I LOVE this application. And it was just rewritten in Cocoa and handles higher-ascii characters better. For those of you who don’t care about what I just said…here’s the lowdown. It runs in Mac OS X, and lets you quickly clip articles, text, whatever, and make Palm-readable .doc files out of whatever you want to read later on your Palm. For me, it’s a huge boon. And incredibly it’s freeware. Go figure. PorDiBle 3.0 – MacUpdate