Apple Market Share | July 30, 2005

I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. Probably more than most. So I want to make sure that I spend as little time as possible keeping my system running. Many years ago I used to use a PC and estimate that I’d spend around 2% of my time keeping the system in good working order. That could be installing software or patches, defragging the disk, or the occasional OS reinstall. Not a huge amount of time, but it does add up. These days I use a Mac, and the amount of time I spend on maintenance has easily dropped below 0.01%.

Because I use my computer all the time, I want it to be as pleasant an experience as possible. I want my computer to help me do my work, or at least not get in my way. A few months ago I was working on site for a client and was forced to use a Windows machine for two weeks. While the OS has definitely improved in the last few years, I still get the feeling that I’m fighting against the OS rather than working with it. And while Windows XP looks a little nicer than it’s predecessor, it still feels miles behind the Mac OX. Web pages just always look at lot nicer when viewed on a Mac than a PC, which is probably why most of the screenshots you see in books are taken on a Mac.

Now before the Windows users go on the defensive, I’m not saying that OS X is perfect. Like most computer systems, it has it’s quirks, oddities and annoyances. However I truly believe that it’s the best operating system around and will stay that way for a couple of years. At least until Vista debuts.

I have quite a bit of time, money and emotional attachment invested in Apple, so would hate for anything to happen to them. There have been a few moments in recent history where there future looked uncertain, but the success of the iPod coupled with the Mac mini seem to have secured their future, at least for the next couple of years. However I want Apple to thrive and one perceived guarantee of longevity is market share.

Currently Apple has a US market share of 4.5 percent and a global market share of 2.5 percent. At first glance these figure seem pretty poor. However it’s worth putting that in perspective. 4.5 percent means that one in every 22 computers in the US is a Mac. When you think about it, that’s actually quite a lot.

Brighton seems to be the Mac capitol of the UK. Everywhere I go I see people with their iBooks or Powerbooks out. In WiFi cafes, in the park and on the beach. In fact a while ago there was a rumour circulating that outside of New York, there were more Apple computers per capita in Brighton than anywhere else in the world. Probably an urban myth, but it’s a believable one.

Most of my friends and colleagues own at least one Mac, and at conferences like SXSWi and @media, the halls are swarming with them. In fact spying a Dell or a Vaio at one of these events is a bit of an oddity.

Apple doesn’t have a huge cut of the larger computer market, but it does have a strong showing in the creative sector. Most web designers I know own a Mac or aspire to owning one. I wouldn’t say that this site is particularly Mac focused, although I do post the odd article about Apple here and there. However looking at my stats over a 6 month period shows that 26.5 percent of my site visitors are Mac users, 48 percent are Windows users and a further 23 percent are bots and news readers that don’t announce there OS.

So while Apples market share may appear small, it is actually a lot larger and more stable than you may imagine.

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SOUTH | July 21, 2005

British explorer and blogger, Ben Saunders will be setting out next year on his most dangerous journey to date. He will be attempting to complete Scott’s ill fated 1911-1912 Polar expedition, and in doing so, become the first person to return from the South Pole on foot.

In typical explorer style, Ben is currently looking for patrons to help fund the trip. However rather than courting wealthy dowagers he is taking the thoroughly modern approach of micro-patronage. So if you want to be part of this epic 1,800-mile, four month expedition, why not sponsor a mile of the trip. Slightly more bragging rights than sponsoring the neighbours kid in his school egg-and-spoon race.

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Remote Rollover Demo | July 16, 2005

I’m just preparing my slides for Tuesdays training course and thought I’d post up a couple of my remote rollover demos.

The basic set-up is very simple. You take a regular unordered list and wrap an extra, non-semantic span around the link text.


<ul id="pic">
<li class="rich"><a href="#"><span>&raquo; Richard Rutter</span></a></li>
<li class="dan"><a href="#"><span>&raquo; Dan Cederholm</span></a></li>
<li class="dunstan"><a href="#"><span>&raquo; Dunstan Orchard</span></a></li>
</ul>

You then apply your background image to the list, and set it’s position to relative.


#pic {
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
  width: 640px;
  height: 480px;
  list-style: none;
  background: url(rich-dan-dunstan.jpg) no-repeat;
  position: relative;
}

In the first example I’m using the anchor elements to produce the rollover effect.


#pic a {
  display: block;
  width: 100px;
  height: 140px;
  text-decoration:none;
  color:#003399;
}

#pic a:hover {
  border: 1px solid #fff;
}

I’m then positioning the anchors using floats and margins


#pic a {
  float: left 
}

#pic .rich a {
  margin-left: 80px;
  margin-top: 40px;
}

#pic .dan a {
  margin-left: 90px;
  margin-top: 50px;
}

#pic .dunstan a {
  margin-left: 140px;
  margin-top: 60px;
}

and positioning the text links absolutely


#pic a span {
  position: absolute;
}

#pic .rich a span {
  bottom: -2em;
  left: 0;
}

#pic .dan a span {
  bottom: -3.2em;
  left: 0;
}

#pic .dunstan a span {
  bottom: -4.4em;
  left: 0;
}

Positioning the anchors using floats and margins works if the items you want to roll-over are all roughly in a line. However if they are not, you need to position them absolutely as well. You can’t position the anchors absolutely, so you need to add an extra, non-semantic span inside the anchors.


<ul id="pic">
<li class="rich"><a href="#"><span class="box"></span><span class="link">&raquo; Richard Rutter</span></a></li>
<li class="dan"><a href="#"><span class="box"></span><span class="link">&raquo; Dan Cederholm</span></a></li>
<li class="dunstan"><a href="#"><span class="box"></span><span class="link">&raquo; Dunstan Orchard</span></a></li>
</ul>

You can then absolutely position those elements as well.


#pic .rich a .box {
  top: 30px;
  left: 80px;
}

#pic .dan a .box {
  top: 60px;
  left: 270px;
}

#pic .dunstan a .box {
  top: 70px;
  left: 520px;
}

This is how the second example works. Both these examples are fairly rough. They haven’t been extensively tested so I wouldn’t be surprised if they break on IE. However I think they provide an interesting example of what can be achieved using some fairly basic CSS. Throw in some pure CSS rollovers and you’d have something akin to the way flickr displays comments on images.

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Advanced CSS Training Course | July 13, 2005

Like Jeremy, I’m really looking forward to the training course I’ll be running in London next week. If you haven’t noticed the big banner in the sidebar of this site [maybe you read the full RSS feed instead], I’ll be running an Advanced CSS Training Course at the Leathermarket on the 19th Jul. The course is run in association with Vivabit and is intended to be a follow-up to @media 2005.

I’ve been informed by Patrick that somebody has unfortunately had to drop out at the last minute, so there is one space available if you’re interested. However you’ll have to be quick as it’s likely to go in a snap. Places are extremely limited to make sure attendees get that individual service. If you’ve not managed to secure a place, don’t worry as there are plans for more later in the year.

If you are lucky enough to be attending, I’d love to hear from you. How would you describe your current skill level, what things in CSS are you confident with and what are you hoping to learn? Even if you’re not attending, I’d love to know what stage you’re at and what you’re currently struggling with.

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Desert Island Fonts - Final Round | July 5, 2005

If you could only buy 6 fonts, what would they be?

Mike Davidson

Akzidenz Grotesk

The original sans-serif superstar, Akzidenz was turning tricks back when Helvetica was just a twinkle in Max Miedinger’s eye. I much prefer the elegant yet unrefined quality of this typeface’s letterforms over the newer, overused swiss variants. It’s sort of like an LP record… but it never skips.

Engravers Gothic

For a period of about two years, I attempted to inject this font into every single project I worked on. Even if I couldn’t fit it into the main scene, I screened it back somewhere in the distance just to feel better about myself. For a brief time, I was actually creating design projects for the sole purpose of using Engravers Gothic in them. It was at this point that I sought professional help.

Myriad

It’s quite simply the most readable sans-serif typeface ever invented… for print at least. On the web, that’d be Lucida Grande, but thanks to Apple, I don’t really have to buy that now, do I…

Neutraface

Designed by Christian Schwartz for House Industries, Neutraface captures the 1950s stylings of architect Richard Neutra in a beautiful typeface meant for application on the screen, in print, and in metalwork. If you are ever in need of a classy retro face, they don’t get any more polished than this.

Meta

Like a good mullet, this typeface has something for everyone. Its clean lines make it ideal for logotype, headings, and other professional applications, but its curvy flourishes keep it from looking sterile or uptight.

Agency

Originally designed in 1932, and then expanded to multiple weights and widths in the 1990s by David Berlow, this typeface can be made to look futuristic or retro. I’m partial to flexible faces, and Agency is second-to-none in this regard. Use it for old movie posters. Use it for your pathetic Star Trek Convention flyers. Agency feels at home in any environment.

Cameron Moll

Avenir

Avenir, Avenir, Avenir. I’ve abused this typeface in both web and print work, and it’s held up to the abuse with flying colors.

Palatino

Also abused in both web and print work, Palatino is undeniably versatile and (imho) a much better option overall than Times.

Proxima Nova

I’m counting down the minutes until this typeface is available. No joke.

Dynasty Light

Someone please give me an excuse to use this in my next project. I take that back — no excuse needed.

Trajan Pro

I’m a sucker for classic Roman letterforms, and it doesn’t get much better than Trajan.

Warnock Pro Light Italic

I stumbled across this gorgeous typeface just recently, and it’s one of the hottest italics I’ve had the pleasure of using in recent months.

Andy Budd

Akzidenz Grotesk

Akzidenz Grotesk is the classic alternative to it’s dowdy and overused relation, Helvetica. If you ever feel the need to use Helvetica, resist the urge and try Akzidenz instead.

Frutiger

Originally designed for the signage at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, Frutiger is a beautifully fluid and legible typeface. Without doubt the most influential typeface in the past 30 tears, Frutiger has been the inspiration for many amazing fonts including the excellent Myriad Pro.

Avenir Next

Futura is a wonderful typeface, although is can feel slightly sterile at times. Adrian Frutiger set about “humanizing” Futura and created Avenir in 1988. Avenir is a beautiful typeface but is restricted to just 12 weights. In 2004 the typface was completely revised and Avenir Next was released with a stunning 96 weights. If you are looking for a modern sans, you need look no further.

Neutraface

Tired of Futura and Gill Sans? Neutraface is a beautiful art-deco alternative. Modern yet retro, this typeface comes with loads of ligatures and 7 beautiful figure styles. If this typeface was a drink it would be a Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred.

DIN Schriften

DIN stands for Deutsche Industrie-Norm, the German industrial standard. Originally used for German road signage, this typeface was the darling of 90’s graphic designers, and like FF Meta, is starting to make a comeback. With it’s wide open letter forms DIN is am extremely clear and legible typeface, great at any size.

Mrs Eaves

If I had to choose one serif typeface it would be Mrs Eaves. Named after John Baskerville’s wife, this stylised version of Baskerville is loved by graphic designers around the world. Mrs Eaves is a modern serif that retains an air of antiquated dignity. Playful without being too scripty, it’s a fully featured typeface with a beautiful collection of ligatures.

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Live 8 Funometer | July 3, 2005

live8 graph of fun

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