Off the Top: Software Entries


January 16, 2014

OmniOutliner Counts to Four

One of my favorite applications that a lot of my work and workflow lives in and through, OmniOutliner, updated today. OmniOutliner 4 finally was released today. Its interface becomes a little easier to use for more advanced functions, but if you use the iPad version the new Mac version now looks and works a little more like the iPad version (I think this is a good thing for consistency and ease of use).

I have been using OmniOutliner since version one. I learned to think and organize in outlines and I loved in the old days of WordPerfect the start a document in an outline and then start fleshing it out allowed me to work in the same manner I learned in the fourth grade in Mrs. Norman’s class at Raleigh Park Elementary. This seemed natural to prepare writing this way and once WordPerfect went missing from my workflow other writing tools faked outlines and I looked for good outlining tools to be that foundation. OmniOutliner filled this void. But, once I found OmniOutliner I found other fans who had scripted it to do really helpful tasks, like capture web site maps and dump them into OmniOutliner to annotate and arrange them, then use a script to push into OmniGraffle to visualize. Doing this in 2003 (or so) was pure joy. Not only was was OmniOutliner easy to use, it was really powerful because it was well structured and scriptable.

OmniOutliner is Where I Think

About 2003 I was asked by friend Jesse James Garret, “What tool to you think in?” At that point my answer was OmniOutliner. OmniOutliner was my capture tool that allowed for easy structuring and arranging of order. In years to come with OPML becoming the glue to connect many things in my workflow, I would would move my outlines from OmniOutliner to a mind mapping tool and back and forth. This moving the outline into a mind map allowed me to see it and see relationships spatially and to identify order, modify structure, and make connections between nodes in different branches of the mind map. From the mind map I could take all the modifications and move them back into the outline and tweak a little more. From this point it was moving into writing or into a Keynote presentation (also with a script that would take the OmniOutline and convert it to a presentation to flesh out visually).

The Initial Foundation of What Became OmniFocus

With OmniOutliner I went through the early productivity layer for it that later turned into OmniFocus. My old business started and was kept on schedule in that precursor to OmniFocus that Ethan Schoonover cobbled into and on top of OmniOutliner that was called Kinkless GTD (or KGTD for short).

I still think in OmniOutliner. I have all of the (now) 54 elements of the social lenses tucked in there with their hundreds of sub-nodes. This outline is what became the initial foundation for the four days of walk through of them with Dave Gray for what would turn into the Connected Company book. The collection of similar outlines are all within easy reach. I have a saved Spotlight search in the Finder sidebar that aggregate all my OmniOutliner files for one easy view across everything.

OmniOutliner 4 Offers Even More Potential

I really look forward to how OmniOutliner 4 becomes a new part of my world and workflows. The AppleScript looks robust (I didn’t try it in the many months of beta, but look forward to it now). With scripting and the structure there is a whole lot that is possible.



April 27, 2012

Pear Note Updates to v3 Now with Skype Support

This morning’s email notification that Pear Note, a note taking and recording app for Mac OS, updated to version 3. I’ve used Pear Note for meetings to record the audio and take note and the text syncs to a timestamp in the audio, which is incredibly helpful and reduces the notes I have to take so I spend more time listening.

The best part of the news of this update for me is that it can now grab Skype recorder. I use Skype recorder a lot so I can pay attention to the conversation and not focus on note taking. Now having Pear Note tied in I can mark quick annotations on the Skype call and then go back later and fill the notes in (if you are listening to the recording while updating your notes it will continue to timestamp).

Pear Note 3 is now optimized for Lion, includes higher bit rate audio recording and HD 720p video recording. This is paired with the updated Pair Note for iOS, which updated today as well.



April 26, 2012

Skitch Update Includes Evernote Posting

Skitch updated its Mac OS software today and now include a direct posting (or sync in their terminology) to Evernote. This past year Evernote purchased Skitch and its team and brought them into the Evernote fold.

I have been waiting for this posting to Evernote since they were purchased. While I like the Skitch hosted web dashboard and its hosting of one’s own Skitch images it didn’t fully fit into my workflow as easily as Evernote has. Skitch dashboard works well to share images and drafts out with others and provides a nice interface for seeing what is private/secret and what is public.



April 24, 2012

Path Finder and VoodooPad Major Version Updates

Two software applications on my Mac that I love were update this past week and they are running much more efficiently in Mac Lion.

Cocoatech’s Path Finder just became version 6. Along with the ease of file management in double paned windows and a much more robust quick viewer with more file types quickly viewed it has file tagging enabled built using OpenMeta. This is the first build of Path Finder I have used that I can leave running and not see a performance hit. Loving it. The upgrade price is $20 and new is $40.

The other software app that updated this week is Flying Meat’s VoodooPad, which is now up to version 5. VoodooPad is a Mac based wiki built into an app. It is mostly for personal use, but now that it has Dropbox compatibility it is open for use across machines and people and shows last edits by who and where. Also new is publish to ePub and improved PDF and HTML publishing (I have not tried either of these so I can not vouch for them). The update provide native Marckdown editing as well as the ability ability to write scripts in the app using JavaScript.

VoodooPad has been a great resource to tuck notes for projects and allows for easy linking to local resources, such as: type a person’s name you have in your address book and it links to that person’s card in your contacts and you can drag the proxy icon of document into the page to link the document directly to the page. It has been a nice way to keep things in reach and collected in one nice space on my mac.



October 22, 2010

Nokia to Nip Its Ecosystem?

First off, I admit it I like Nokia and their phones (it may be a bit more than like, actually). But, today's news regarding Nokia further refines development strategy to unify environments for Symbian and MeeGo is troubling, really troubling. Nokia is stating they are moving toward more of an app platform than software. It is a slight nuance in terms, but the app route is building light applications on a platform and not having access to underlying functionality, while software gets to dig deeper and put hooks deeper in the foundations to do what it needs. Simon Judge frames it well in his The End of Symbian for 3rd Party Development.

Killing A Valued Part of the Ecosystem

My love for Nokia is one part of great phone (voice quality is normally great, solidly built, etc.) and the other part is the software third party developers make. Nokia has had a wonderfully open platform for developers to make great software and do inventive things. Many of the cool new things iPhone developers did were done years prior for Nokia phones because it was open and hackable. For a while there was a python kit you could load to hack data and internal phone data, so to build service you wanted. This is nice and good, but my love runs deeper.

When my last Nokia (E61i) died after a few years, its replacement was a Nokia E72. I could have gone to iPhone (I find too many things that really bug me about iPhone to do that and it is still behind functionality I really like in the Nokia). But, the big thing that had me hooked on Nokia were two pieces of 3rd party software. An email application called ProfiMail and a Twitter client called Gravity. Both of these pieces of software are hands down my favorites on any mobile platform (BTW, I loathe the dumbed down Apple mail on iPhone/iPod Touch). But, I also get to use my favorite mobile browser Opera Mobile (in most cases I prefer Opera over Safari on iPhone platform as well). This platform and ecosystem, created the perfect fit for my needs.

Nearly every Nokia user I know (they are hard to find in the US, but most I know are in Europe) all have the same story. It is their favorite 3rd party applications that keep them coming back. Nearly everybody I know loves Gravity and hasn't found another Twitter client they would switch to on any other mobile platform. The Nokia offerings for email and browser are good, but the option to use that best meets your needs is brilliant and always has been, just as the unlocked phone choice rather than a carrier's mangled and crippled offering. If Nokia pulls my ability to choose, then I may choose a phone that doesn't.

Understanding Ecosystems is Important

Many people have trashed Nokia for not having a strong App Store like Apple does for iPhone. Every time I hear this I realize not only do people not understand the smartphone market that has existed for eight years or more prior to iPhone entering the market, but they do not grasp ecosystems. Apple did a smart thing with the App Store for iPhone and it solved a large problem, quality of applications and secondarily created a central place customers could find everything (this really no longer works well as the store doesn't work well at all with the scale it has reached).

While Apple's ecosystem works well, most other mobile platforms had a more distributed ecosystem, where 3rd party developers could build the applications and software, sell it directly from their site or put it in one or many of the mobile application/software stores, like Handango. This ecosystem is distributed hoards of people have been using it and the many applications offered up. When Nokia opened Ovi, which includes an app store with many offerings, many complained it didn't grow and have the mass of applications Apple did. Many applications that are popular for Nokia still are not in Ovi, because a prior ecosystem existed and still exists. That prior ecosystem is central what has made Nokia a solid option.

Most US mobile pundits only started paying attention to mobile when the iPhone arrived. The US has been very very late to the mobile game as a whole and equally good, if not better options for how things are done beyond Apple exist and have existed. I am really hoping this is not the end of one of those much better options (at least for me and many I know).



September 28, 2010

As If Had Read

The idea of a tag "As If Had Read" started as a riff off of riffs with David Weinberger at Reboot 2008 regarding the "to read" tag that is prevalent in many social bookmarking sites. But, the "as if had read" is not as tongue-in-cheek at the moment, but is a moment of ah ha!

I have been using DevonThink on my Mac for 5 or more years. It is a document, note, web page, and general content catch all that is easily searched. But, it also pulls out relevance to other items that it sees as relevant. The connections it makes are often quite impressive.

My Info Churning Patterns

I have promised for quite a few years that I would write-up how I work through my inbound content. This process changes a lot, but it is back to a settled state again (mostly). Going back 10 years or more I would go through my links page and check all of the links on it (it was 75 to 100 links at that point) to see if there was something new or of interest.

But, that changed to using a feedreader (I used and am back to using Net News Wire on Mac as it has the features I love and it is fast and I can skim 4x to 5x the content I can in Google Reader (interface and design matters)) to pull in 400 or more RSS feeds that I would triage. I would skim the new (bold) titles and skim the content in the reader, if it was of potential interest I open the link into a browser tab in the background and just churn through the skimming of the 1,000 to 1,400 new items each night. Then I would open the browser to read the tabs. At this stage I actually read the content and if part way through it I don't think it has current or future value I close the tab. But, in about 90 minutes I could triage through 1,200 to 1,400 new RSS feed items, get 30 to 70 potential items of value open in tabs in a browser, and get this down to a usual 5 to 12 items of current or future value. Yes, in 90 minutes (keeping focus to sort the out the chaff is essential). But, from this point I would blog or at least put these items into Delicious and/or Ma.gnolia or Yahoo MyWeb 2.0 (this service was insanely amazing and was years ahead of its time and I will write-up its value).

The volume and tools have changed over time. Today the same number of feeds (approximately 400) turn out 500 to 800 new items each day. I now post less to Delicious and opt for DevonThink for 25 to 40 items each day. I stopped using DevonThink (DT) and opted for Yojimbo and then Together.app as they had tagging and I could add my context (I found my own context had more value than DevonThink's contextual relevance engine). But, when DevonThink added tagging it became an optimal service and I added my archives from Together and now use DT a lot.

Relevance of As if Had Read

But, one of the things I have been finding is I can not only search within the content of items in DT, but I can quickly aggregate related items by tag (work projects, long writing projects, etc.). But, its incredible value is how it has changed my information triage and process. I am now taking those 30 to 40 tabs and doing a more in depth read, but only rarely reading the full content, unless it is current value is high or the content is compelling. I am acting on the content more quickly and putting it into DT. When I need to recall information I use the search to find content and then pull related content closer. I not only have the item I was seeking, but have other related content that adds depth and breath to a subject. My own personal recall of the content is enough to start a search that will find what I was seeking with relative ease. But, were I did a deeper skim read in the past I will now do a deeper read of the prime focus. My augmented recall with the brilliance of DevonThink works just as well as if I had read the content deeply the first time.



June 15, 2007

Skitch Goes Live Beta

Just a quick note to let you know Skitch has gone to invite only beta. I have some invites if you are interested and have been drooling for it to launch.

What is Skitch? It is a Mac OS X screen and cam capturing tool that not only allows you to capture the image, but annotate it, then send it out to Flickr, .Mac, or MySkitch (a skitch sharing site perfect for sharing with clients or collaborators). I have been using Skitch for the past few months and loving it. I have built-up a decent set of screen captures for presentations and client work (about 300+ elements) mostly around social web interaction patterns. It is an insanely easy (as well as fun) tool to use and I only wish I had it sooner.



August 19, 2006

kGTD is Getting Things Real

I/we got a love letter or what I did this summer letter from Ethan at Kinkless, you know the maker of the killer kGTD (for Getting Things Done fans on Mac) extension for OmniOutliner.

What I really enjoyed was the apology and lighthearted story. Yes, I am quite looking forward to the next iteration or two from kGTD. But, Ethan connected with his community to keep them close and let them know he still cares about them and even apologized for his absence and lack of communication. This was rare and well done. He just won the hearts of his fans (how have not had to pay for his great contribution to our digital lives).

One things to note (if you are not familiar with kGTD as you are not interested in Getting Things Done (I am not being snarky, just you are not part of the kult) or are on a platform other than Mac) is kGTD caused the software it extends to get redesigned/reengineered to better support the tool. The kGTD fans caused a spike in purchases of OmniOutliner that they embraced many of the fan requests for product improvement. In turn the OmniOutliner had performance increases and functionality improvements that made their over all product much better than it already was. It shows what a great extension or external product layered on top of another product that is open for modifying can do for the whole ecosystem. OmniOutliner had a avid fan base, but it grew even larger and more avid with this kGTD extension. All of the Omni products are great and have deep followings.

The human, "we are just like you", approach to connect with those that use and have interest in the product helps keep it real and friendly. We connect more closely with the developer and the person. It builds a better bond. I have been deeply impressed and interest rekindled.



January 12, 2006

A Better Day and Brigher Future

Things are a little better on this end today. I was able to delete the Photoshop French version and reinstall a Photoshop demo (I was very surprised I was able to do this and get back to the exact days left on the tryout where is left of yesterday) so I could continue to work. The shipment of the new package will be the fourth attempt to get this right by Adobe (their stock price is what?).

I have received many great suggestions on hosting and am looking at two of them seriously. E-mail has been up all day today as host hosting, which is good.

Along this front I am really getting tired of my own blogging tool. I no longer have time to keep running and the effort it takes to write, check, and post does not work for me any longer. I am doing too many things at once and not paying enough attention to the actual writing, which I really need to. I also blog adding all the mark-up needed (including needed character encodings). I really want to turn on comments again as readership here has grown and I really want to get back to "conversations" (not just monologues plus e-mail). There are things I want to build that I think would help the blogging community, but it is really fruitless to do this for a tool that has an install base of 1.

I have my options narrowed down for me as I will be running two sites from it and be using it as a CMS as well as a blogging tool. The two candidates I am down to are Movable Type and Drupal. I am leaning toward MT mostly because they have a very active support system inside the company and user-base. Drupal has a killer user-base that is very innovative and the tool has many social and community aspects to it that I really like. I will most likely be playing with both. Both have a good track record running more than one site off an install and using shared components for the different sites.

Now it is sorting out, which I can dump my current site into most easily and clean out the mark-up and encoding so to let the blogging tool do it (will make for easier current specification RSS/Atom feeds). I am also wanting to keep the 1770-plus URLs the same (as well as RESTful), which I have not sorted out. Suggestions are welcome.



July 12, 2005

Passion and the Day-to-day

This has been an up and down month so far with health, work, technology, and time. In general 2005 has been a rough year for respiratory issues already for me as I am nearly 3x the normal problems for a full year. These issues zaps energy and fogs the brain (something I really loathe).

The day-job is muddled in past problems, issues that have been plaguing people and have been solved years ago, but where I am resources and bureaucracy keep the long past current. Outside of the day-job I am working with the now and future, which I have really been loving. I have been working on responding back to many questions that have come in through e-mail about possible work and helping people through problems grasping and implementing efficiencies for current web development, folksonomies, and Personal InfoCloud related items.

I have also been working on my presentation for WebVisions, which involves completing it, tearing it apart and nearly starting over. To date I have nearly 25 hours working on this presentation, mostly integrating new material and editing out past content. This is in contrast to day-job presentations, which take me about an hour to build.

In a sense I am still time traveling on my daily commute. The gap is about four to six years of time travel in each 40 minute to hour commute. This is really wearing on me and it is long past time to move on, but I have not had the time to put forward to nail down the essentials for moving my passion to my day job (time and family needs that have filled this year).

So today, I was quite uplifted as my subscription issue of August 2005 MIT Technology Review arrived. The cover topic is Social Machines and I am quoted and have a sidebar box. That was up lifting as it relates to my "real work". This is right up there with Wired's Bruce Sterling article on folksonomy and Thomas Vander Wal.

Now the real work continues. If you are in Portland for Web Visions or just there in general later this week, please drop me a note and I will provide my contact info. If you are not in Portland and would like me to come to you and discuss and help along these topics please contact me also.



May 21, 2005

Super Spam Build-up

Super spam build-up. Thursday night I did my weekly pull of my stored "junk" e-mail, which was more like 10 days of build-up. I had found some legitimate bounced e-mail during my past round when I scanned through the mess, so I was saving up until I had a little time to visually parse through the pile. This time I had 31,000 items in the junk mail bin. I did not even look in the output bin this time, I just did a straight push to delete and dumped the trash.

If you sent something that you did not get a response on that you believe should get a response lets try this again. Send it. I have around 15 e-mails I have been working on longer responses to, but am going to be sending, "I got it" responses then put it in my longer response queue.



May 17, 2005

Post SSAW Snapshot

I had an utterly fantastic weekend at the Social Software in the Academy Workshop at the Annenberg Center for Communication. There were great conversations and shared observations from a broad spectrum of academic interests as well as outside (that was me).

The interview of Richard Cameron of CiteULike covering folksonomies and their value on social bookmarking sites went quite well in my opinion. There was a very robust backchannel (actually two of them, one steno-tracking the panels and the other was free space) that really had some good discussion going in parallel to the interview/conversation.

There are many people I really want to keep in touch with from this weekend as there are some things in the folkonomy and Personal InfoCloud work I am doing as well as general input on where and how to work through the walls between academia and the practitioners (interested and informed parties outside).

I can always tell when I have had a good time interacting with others as I have problems sleeping as I am digesting and culling through conversations and ideas that I have been exposed to. Any even that changes the work I am doing for the better or causes me to pause, reflect, and integrate a new perspective is a fantastic time by me. Although going through this on a 4.5 hour red-eye flight from Long Beach to DC was a little disruptive to normality this morning.

One idea that came up this week end was a workspace that is part academia and part think tank for technology/design ideas to gel and incubate. I had just run across a similar idea in John Thakara's In the Bubble, which he labeled something similar a "think-and-do tank". This sounds like a wonderful environment. Part research and part building to test and improve what is around us seems very well suited to where I am desiring to head. I get lost deep down in the details and most often have to pull my discussions up to a much higher level for others to benefit (not always the case of late, as exposing some of the under belly of the data flow diagrams and technical design elements really would have helped the cause, but I kept getting asked higher level questions and answered there, such is life).

I have been trying to figure out a good home for the Personal InfoCloud (including the related folksonomy and Model of Attraction) as regular work/obsession. I think I am somewhat closer to figuring that out as of this past weekend. I need to get a lot of this out of my head to help others move forward as well. I would love 30 hours days, but that will not happen so I need to deal with the constraints and hand and rework some things to finally get things moving fully in the right direction.



December 5, 2004

OmniOutliner3 In Beta

One of my favorite pieces of software, OmniOutliner is getting ready for a version upgrade. There are many new features that will extend the functionality beyond it just being a great outlining tool and turn it into a file organizing tool. The new version will also have a Pro version, which has piqued my interest.



May 22, 2004

iTunes on External Drive

I finally moved my iTunes repository, all 18GB of it, off my TiBook (40GB hard drive) to my external firewire hard drive (120GB). By changing the iTune directory to the external drive in iTunes preferences then going into Advanced an set iTunes to "consolodate" iTunes files everything will be properly copied to the external drive. After ripping a disk and finding the disk only loaded on the external drive I knew I had success. I then deleted the iTunes on the TiBook.

I have now successfully synched my iPod connecting to the external drive through the same firewire hub. I now have 20GB of free hard drive available on my laptop, which is a nice relief.



March 19, 2004

SixApart's TypeKey Coming Soon

SixApart's TypeKey looks to be a good resource to help authenticate those making comments on Web sites. I have been very happy with SixApart's TypePad, not that I am ready to move off my own system. Actually it sounds like TypeKey will have an open API that will allow those who have built their own weblogging tools to take advantage of the authentication services. This is one feature that has been on my own drawing board, but now I will be waiting for SixApart.



December 28, 2003

Mobile Audio

I picked up Audio Hijack Pro so I can record some of my favorite radio shows on the Internet to playback when I have time. Since I stopped driving to work and went back to taking the Metro I have been missing Marketplace on my drive home. I can also listen to Studio 360, which I plan to do tomorrow, when I have time. The Audio Hijack is like the Tivo for Internet audio, but missing the time schedules and recommendations.

The benefit of the portable audio is getting the top item on my wishlist, an iPod. I am wishing the iPod interface was slightly more malleable and offered how much information was available about the audio file, it would be good to have search functionality too. I am happy to have my full address-book and calendar tucked in the device also. I am surprised there has not been a thumb keyboard introduced for the iPod as of yet. I am even more surprised there is not a dial and click text entry component, just like the arcade games of yore.



December 27, 2003

Great OmniOutliner Overview and Resource

OmniOutliner is one of my favorite applications for the Mac. I tend to do a lot of my thinking in OmniOutliner. Giles Turnbull offers a great overview in Flexible OmniOutliner over at O'Reilly Net's Mac DevCenter. The insights include outputting the outlines into iPod, MS Word, Keynote, and much more.



November 21, 2003

Kim Polese Leaving Marimba

Kim Polese is leaving Marimba. In the heyday of Marimba (the days it was "pushing") Kim was the prime woman in Silicon Valley as she was in front of the game. It may be time for her to get back to that as an entrapreneur.



November 9, 2003

Apple Mac OS X as a great application development platform

Steve Neiderhauser has written an overview of what makes Apple a great application development platform. I cringe each time I hear somebody that has never understood application development or design state that Apple is a only a designer's platform. I bought an Apple laptop because of OS X, so that I could have a mobile UNIX platform for developing Web Applications and continuing my UNIX and OpenSource application development skills. I quickly found that the OS X platform was great for anytime of development, but I have not had the time to stay on top of my own development projects, as much I would like. I also found out that much of the Palm OS was built and maintained on Macs and UUNet has been largely a Mac-based company for its business practices.



November 1, 2003

iPIM and Chandler have a chair at the Personal Info Cloud

There are two articles that are direct hits on managing information for the individual and allowing the individual to use the information when they needed it and share it as needed. Yes, this is in line with the Personal Information Cloud.

The first article, The inter-personal information manager (iPim) by Mark Sigal about the problem with users finding information and how the can or should be able to then manage that information. There are many problems with applications (as well as the information format itself) that inhibit users reuse of information. In the comments of the article there is a link to products that are moving forward with information clients, which also fit into the Personal Information Cloud or iPIM concept. (The Personal Information Cloud tools should be easily portable or mobile device enabled or have the ability to be retrieved from anywhere sent to any device.

The second article is from the MIT Technology Review (registration required) titled Trash Your Desktop about Mitch Kapor (of founding Lotus Development fame) and his Open Source project to build Chandler. Chandler is not only a personal information manager (PIM), but the tool is a general information manager that is contextually aware. The article not only focusses on Mitch and the product (due late 2004), but the open and honest development practices of those that are building Chandler at the Open Source Application Foundation for Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. distribution.



October 26, 2003

Geeks take charge

Steve Lohr, of the New York Times wrote As Silicon Valley Reboots, the Geeks Take Charge. This article hits the pre-tech boom development process and how things are again. The development of solid applications takes passion, intelligence, and personal energy. These things are needed as the road is tough, but worth it for the developers and for the users. Getting the geeks back in the driving seat helps greatly as the business and marketing folks that tried jumping in during the boom seemed to do far more harm than good with their buzzwords and greed, which pushed products to market long before they were ready.

The article highlights some great companies with great products that have survived and blossomed since the boom.



October 14, 2003

Microsoft helps with Mac compatibility

Microsoft has put together a Mac and Microsoft compatibility site to answer questions and to provide assistance.



September 3, 2003

JBuilder 9 on Mac OS X

Hmmm, for future use, MacOSX Hints provides Installing JBuilder 9 on OS X. I have run previous versions on Windows and Linux, but have not attempted on OS X yet.



August 25, 2003


June 27, 2003

iChat AV has spell check

One quick item of note: Not only does iChat AV have great sound and wonderful video (been privy to both), but it has spell check. Yes spell check in iChat! I have been waiting for this for so long. It does not seem to be documented anywhere that I have found, but when I mis-type the words get a red underline, just like spell check in Safari, and I have the option of fixing.



June 25, 2003

Keynote Theme repositories

Looking for a new Keynote theme? Check these out:

This list was updated on 6 June 2007. This page gets a lot of traffic and wanted to capture the current state of things and add in Keynote Theme Park.



June 23, 2003

ODBC on Apple Jaguar

ODBC in Apple Jaguar to help share data between applications.



Gantt charts in Excel

Making Gantt charts in Excel, well at least Excel for Mac (have not tried it in Windows). [hat tip Michael]



iChat AV is off this planet easy and usable

The Apple iChat AV is insanely cool and easy to use. My TiBook had a built in mic, who knew? My friend Jeff rang and started talking. I typed back that I could not talk. Then Jeff asked why he could could hear Steve Jobs talking, which was being streamed on my TiBook. He said talk, I did. Jeff heard.

Once again Apple has made an application that is insanely simple and just works. I have never been repeatedly impressed with any computer company the way I have with Apple. This is the way we all dreamed computing would be. Who knew it would take so long, yet who knew it would be today to make voice over computer so simple.

I just flat out love Apple. There have been no headaches or other problems with any of this. How un-PC and how very Apple (yes I know the Mac is a personal computer). You must get a Mac and join the ease of computing and get out of computing hell.



Safari renders pages much better

Yes, I downloaded the new Apple Safari browser and it now nearly perfectly renders one page it has always mangled. I can now read the International Herald Tribune in my favorite browser.

The one downside in the few minutes of playing with Safari is it still does not let the user tab between all form elements. The user can not tab to select boxes, nor check boxes. This is a major usability problem in my viewpoint, but I may switch and use it to use the CMS tools here are vanderwal.net as I need the spell checking.



June 20, 2003

Managing large image libraries in iPhoto 2

Derrick Story provides guidence on How to Manage Large Image Libraries with iPhoto 2, which has been a problem for many. Large in this case is a Gig (GB) or more of images.

I found that closing the rolls in iPhoto 2 made the speed of iPhoto greatly improve.



June 18, 2003

Phone butler learns your ways

The Beeb offers insight into the Phone Butler. This phone app learns what calendaring events the user will set and which she does not. The learning how the user thinks is the wonderful part. This could be a nice step forward for artificial intelligence (AI) if it would grasp the fine discriminators.

In the past I have opened up my calendar requests to a coworker to accept and reject invites for me. This was needed as many days I have back-to-back meetings and face-to-face time on my way back from meetings. An application that could do this and respond when there are overlaps in appointments and know which has priority would be great. If it could synch my work and outside life across five machines and devices and four Operating systems and six applications I would be in floating on clouds.



June 15, 2003

Bullfighter from Deloitte Consulting

Saturday's New York Times discusses Deliotte Consulting's Bullfighter a jargon removal tool. This is used to make financial reports and business communication clearer. The application reportedly works much like spell check. The tool even works in PowerPoint, which a well known carrier is the business jargon virus.



June 6, 2003

UPS gets worse

The UPS snafu gets better. Today I tried following up with UPS, twice. I called during lunch to check where UPS though my package was. When they said it was put on a truck in Texas to be shipped to me I complained. They said it was a ground package so it had to be shipped ground and maybe it really was not in Texas. I asked how it would not be in Texas if it scanned three times in Texas (once in Fort Worth, and twice in Mesquite). I asked to speak to the supervisor, but after a wait I got the same person back who said it seemed the package would be out for delivery that afternoon. (It was not and that was the second time I had been lied to by UPS representatives in this mess.) The person asked if I could give my zip code to get a better time estimate. The person appologized as they had to "say the numbers outloud as they typed because the numbers get confused from their brain to their fingers".

I got home after the promissed delivery time this evening and their was no package. I called customer service again. To check on the package (the UPS tracking system on-line provides the exact same information customer service gives you) I called "customer service" again. This time they confirmed that the package was actually in Texas and was put on a truck to get to Maryland. This would take six days to get to me as that was the shipping time from Texas to Maryland for a ground package. I asked if the package could travel the 1300 miles in 13 hours like it had on June 4th. Customer Service said that was not possible for a ground package. I was told repeatedly that six days is the travel time for a package going from Texas to Maryland. When I pointed out the package was in Maryland two days ago and less than 25 miles from the delivery point, the customer service person returned to their script and said the package must have been rerouted because of bad weather or an act of God. I wanted to know what bad weather would cause the package to go from 25 miles from deliver to 1300 miles from delivery and an act of God would have been reported in the paper. At no point did UPS take any responsibility for the package getting mis-routed. I did get told a few times UPS only has the information in their database and they do not know where the package actually is and do not have control over where the package goes. I was told that UPS customer service can not identify a misrouted package only the computer system can identify a misrouted package and the computer did not see anything wrong with the package going to Texas after being 25 miles from the delivery site on the promissed delivery date. I asked the person on the other end of the phone if she saw a problem with a package being 1300 miles after it had been 25 miles from delivery to her. She started reading from the script. I asked her to stop reading the script and asked if calling customer service could correct the missrouted package. She said no customer service could not do that as their system did not show a problem. I pointed out that I was a customer with a problem with UPS service and wanted assistance. The script reading ensued again. I asked her to stop again. She did, I asked if it was customer service that I called as I was not getting any help and I was a customer with a problem. There was a very long silence. She said yes it was customer service very quitely and she appologized that she could not help me. That was a first for UPS, an appology. I asked who I at UPS could help, she said their was no over riding their system and there was nobody in the company that could do anything to help.

Nobody at UPS that I have talked to seems to think there is any problem with a package being very close to the delivery point then 1300 miles away on the delivery day. Very odd and a very sad state for what was a decent company.



June 3, 2003

Social computing needs more than chat

I was awake at an hour only God, ravers, and vampires would love this morning and stumbled across Bill Thompson's BBC article about social computing needing to be more than chat. I went to bed after I read this then thought I may have dreamt the article, and did not know where I had read it. The article brings the recent hype about social software down to earth as it was and has been a discussion point in many things Internet since the late 1980s and early 1990s. Bill does suggest we may have evolved enough to discuss the social changes that are brought about in a digitally networked world without discussion of packets and protocols.

This article also jumps into the attention ideas get when published in a weblog as compared to an academic research paper. Bill's perspective is the lack of research into what has been discovered and written about previously is detrimental to social software and networking moving forward. This resonates with those who have liberal education backgrounds that have been taught to seek out the fountainhead of an idea and find what others have communicated so to build upon experiences rather than offer up a "me too" or a "that was my idea" (20 years or centuries after it was common thought).



May 26, 2003

Views of the future of software

Every now and then I run across something that really gets me thinking and twisting every way I look at the idea. Dave Winer's Who will pay for software, Pt. I and who will pay, Pt. II along with Tim Bray's Business Ignorance and Try then Buy. These four articles look at the state of the software industry. The consensus, go figure, is not too bright unless one is Microsoft.

As Joshua noted the other day I tend to view Microsoft's products dimmly. This is partly because the Microsoft products are rarely the best in their field, and they rarely have ever been the best. Marketing is Microsoft's strength and they have made a bundle and gained prominance not out of having the best product, but through their business skills.

A few years ago I started on a project that put me back in the UNIX environment, which I dreaded at first as much of my work for the two previous years had been on Windows based systems. I relearned to love UNIX and Linux as my develoment skilss had grown greatly. I found UNIX and Linux gave the developer and SysAdmin far better control and I could control security problems far better than I ever could in the Windows world. I left the UNIX-based project to head back into a Windows world about two or three years ago. In doing so I really wanted to have a UNIX based machine to keep up my skills, I was also in need of a laptop as my old laptop was tied to my project.

I made a decision to buy a Mac TiBook and run Mac OS X. This gave me the laptop, the UNIX underpinnings, and a solid interface. I had not used a Mac since 1990 for work after using friends Macs and loving them. I used Mac's as test environments over the past few years, but the instability of the pre-OS X operating systems and the vast difference in interfaces from Windows and no command line kept me away. From the first month I had my Mac I was in love with it, well it was a frustrating love in the way that you find that perfect mate and they just don't suck and never seem to iritate you. I hated to say the Mac was a computer as it did not cause headaches and did not cause problems. Everything I needed to do for side-projects and even work for a Windows environment was dirt simple and just worked.

This love of simplicity and an aim for perfection at Apple has a new mark for me to evaluate everything that Microsoft does. Granted the Windows software on Mac seems to be far better than the Windows OS versions, sometimes seeming to be an order of magnitude better. The Mac OS X seems to offer a very rare balance, in its simiplicity, beauty, ease of use, and control. While not all of Apple's applications are perfect, they are far better than many other offerings out there.

Apple has a flirting love affair with Open Source applications and has been making it very easy to add Linux-based apps and have them take advantage of the OS X interface, with its X11 (still in beta and it just rocks).

After reading the four articles above I have been somewhat worried that the attempts at great software that bubble up may have a tough road ahead, which is a true shame. A behemoth company that creates mediocre software (MS) may be ruining the opportunities for great software to exist, unless we can find solid methods for funding these great things. Mediocre software leads me to fits of swearing and having another human generation on its way into our home in the next few months I do not want these fits of swearing or the limited view of the world that is nothing like those of us that dream of a better world with computing want to see. I want my child to know that they can have beauty, control, and perfectly built software and operating systems that will help them through life and not provide a means of frustration.



May 22, 2003

Pocket PC only for Solitare

It dawned on me this morning on the train into work that I don't remember seeing anybody not playing solitare on their color Pocket PCs. I see one or two Pocket PCs each day and everyone is playing solitare. I realize it has been a couple of months since I have seen any other application used on one. I see many other PDAs on my trips to and from work and on travels. Many others PDAs have text that is being read, calendars updated, lists being prepared, or e-mail prepared and sent. Me on my Hiptop I am sending e-mail or playing one of the arcade games. On my Palm OS device I play DopeWars, backgammon, working on outlines, reading news through AvantGo, or looking up reviews in Vindigo.

Has is the Pocket PC the sign of Agent Smith? A narrowly pedestrian agent with narrow interests?



April 28, 2003

Apple changes music buying and bring reality to the industry

Michael Sippy expounds on Apple iTunes 4 and music store, which sounds much like my life, but I do still buy CDs (but only if they are less than $15). I have found virtually nothing coming out of the major record labels for the last 5 years that was worth buying. I can find five to 10 discs each year I am interested in buying, but very little of it is the interchangable Brittney's or the 400 Machbox 20 Wannabee's. The major labels over produce garbage by the truckful and wonder why they can't sell music. Things get so bad for the industry they hire a mindless shill to point fingers at pirates. Ever look at what many of these folks have downloaded? Much of it is not forsale in the local record store. Now with Apple it looks like there is no need for the major labels if Apple starts picking up indi artists. It looks like somebody is finally smart enough to make money on in the music industry. Mabye the shrill shill will go away and take her lawsuits with her.



April 19, 2003

Interview with Fink Project Lead Max Horn

OSNews has a very good interview with Fink project leader Max Horn offering insight into Fink (Mac OS X application that allows incorporating Linux/open source applications into the Mac native graphics framework) and Fink Commander development.



April 16, 2003

Macworld monster May disk

Those of you who are Mac users will like to know the MacWorld May issue of the magazine does not have a CD with it on store shelves, it has a DVD with it. I let my subscription lapse because the subscription did not come with a disk. The may disk has 500 product reviews and demos on it and 350 shareware apps, plus the usual reviews, demos, and Breen movie. This is the mother of all extra disks.



April 15, 2003

OmniOutliner updated with Visio import and export

OmniGraffle 3.0 is out today as is the Pro version. The Pro version has import and export of files with Visio 2002 (using the Visio XML format) and includes mouseless editing (these two features could make the Pro version worth it for me). The interface has received an complete redesign and is much better incorporated into OS X, which version 2 ran very well under. The regular version will output files to PDF, PNG, JPEG, and HTML (among others), if the HTML is as clean as the OmniOutliner this will be a treat. I have been looking forward to this upgrade of one of my favorite tools.



April 13, 2003

Mac OS X Hacks proves to be very good

This weekend I picked up Mac OS X Hacks by Rael Dornfest and Kevin Hemenway for O'Reilly Books. I have picked up a few new tricks and have some new shareware to look into. The price is very reasonable, which made it an easy decision to purchase. The book is well written and has been bed time reading and couch reading, which has not worked well for getting too many of the good ideas implemented, but that will come.

One interesting section (there are 100 sections) is a speach recognition section that incorporates Perl, AppleScripting, SOAP, speach recognition, and voice output. This contribution by John Udell was a very juicy tidbit that had me thinking of all the wonderful uses.



March 18, 2003

Unfortunately Hiptop does not think like Palm

Cory discusses the problem with the Danger Hiptop development plan, which is a controlled development society. I liked the sound of the Hiptop because it not only had much of the mobile functionality I was desiring, but also it had an open development environment. Well, that is not exactly the case. One of the fantastic things about Palm OS is it was made wide open and any schmo could scratch their own itch and create software that worked for them selves and then offer it to others. The Palm platform has a gazillion software apps that will work for anybody. This is too bad the Hiptop folks do not understand this. I really hope they will change their mind. I would happily dig back into Java to knock out some of the apps I need and add functionality to the Hiptop. I really like the Hiptop device, but I would love it if it had certain features and apps, which come from open development.



March 16, 2003

TiBook external monitor for Keynote

Today I decided I better figure out how one uses the external monitor funtionality on the TiBook in preparation for the presentation at the IA Summit 2003. This little endevor was super simple as I just plugged in my 19 inch Mitsubisi with trinitron flat screen and it started to come to life. A quick to system preferences to automatically grab the dimensions and drivers for the monitor and it was rolling. The external monitor is just an extension of the laptop's screen. The clarity on the large monitor is exceptional and there was no slowdown to the TiBook performance.

I ran Keynote with ease with the laptop screen showing the application and the external monitor showing the presentation. I can not figure how to scroll through the notes section while the presentation is running, that is one thing I really would like to sort out.



March 2, 2003

iView photo galleries

I keep hearing about iView software for managing photos on a Mac. I don't know if I have ready to shell out the money for it, but I do know I love the iView sample galleries.



March 1, 2003

Konfabulator is fabu baby

I finally downloaded Konfabulator and I am having fun. I am impressed with the widgets (small single purpose applications that elegantly sit on the desktop of a Mac). Go check it out, you may find that small application you are looking for, or you may create it with XML and JavaScript (what all the widgets are made with).



February 18, 2003

Bethesda February 2003 snow photos

My snow photos from February 16th to 18th are now posted in the photo section.

I posted this round of photos with Apple iPhoto 2. I did all the editing in iPhoto and created the gallery and their export from within iPhoto. I was somewhat pleased with the results. The output from iPhoto creates decent HTML markup with "alt" tags. The doctype is not exact, but there is one there.



February 17, 2003

PDF Workflow in Mac OS X 10.2.4

Apple discusses PDF Workflow an shows how to uncover this gem. [Hat tip Dori]



February 13, 2003

XML Schema for Apple Keynote

The XML schema for Apple's Keynote explained in Technotes. This may come in handy in the not so distant future. [thanks to Daniel Steinberg for the heads up].



February 1, 2003

iPhoto 2 Reviews and automated photo gallery building

I started using iPhoto 2 last night and found it to be a nice improvement from the previous version. I did not use the first version often as it was not how I wanted to do things. The new release is very usable and I have imported many of my monthly archives into iPhoto and have used the enhance to bring out some nice touches. The Enhance tool is not quite perfect or consistent yet, but it is well worth a try on every photo as you can command-Z it right back.

James Duncan Davidson shares his 12 Hours with iPhoto 2 and Derrik Story offers his review in iPhoto 2, it's mostly good news. These two review offer a solid insight into the solid program that Apple is offering.

My next step is to test the build HTML page option, which is something I am missing at the moment on my Mac. I want good clean code, thumbnails build with ease, the ability to caption and "alt tag" the photos. My favorite application is Paul Bausch's snapGallery (does not or did not provide thumbnail option, but it was great clean and valid code that was easy to tweak) and closely followed by PhotoShop auto-generate gallerys option (this has a wonderful look and builds reduced versions of the main photos and thumbnails). I have not picked up PhotoShop for the Mac yet, but may do the Cross-Platform upgrade as I miss it. I will post the results of my postings in the near future.



January 27, 2003

Apple Word Replacement Rumor and Information Structure Dreams

Rumor has it Apple is working on MS Word replacement. This would be a great thing if it would read native Word files seemlessly, but even better would be turning out valid HTML/XHTML. MS Word has always made a huge mess of our information with its conversion to something it "calls" HTML, it is not even passable HTML. One could not get a job using what Microsoft outputs as HTML as a work sample, heck, it would not even pass the laugh test and it may get somebody fired.

One of the downsides of MS Office products is that they are created for styling of information not marking up information with structure, to which style can hang. MS Word allows people (if the turn on or keep the options turned on) to create information sculptures with structure and formatting of the information. What Word outputs to non-Word formats is an information blob that has lost nearly all of its structure and functionality in any other format. It does not really have the format the Word document to begin with. What Web developers do is put the structure back into the information blob to recreate an information sculpture again.

You ask why is structure important? Structure provides the insight to know what is a header and sub-header. Structure provides the ability to discern bulleted lists and outlines. Structure makes it script-kiddie easy to create a table of contents. Structure makes micro-content accessible and easier to find with search. Structure provides better context. Structure provides the ability to know what is a quote from an external document and point to it easily. Structure provides ease of information portability and mobile access easier. These just name a few uses of structure.

Does MS Word have this structure capability? Yes, do people use it? No really. If people use it does MS Word keep the structure? Rarely, as it usually turns the structure into style. This is much like a somebody who spent months in the gym to build a well defined physique only to have the muscles removed to stuff their own shirt with tissue paper to give it the look of being in shape. Does the person with the tissue paper muscles have the ability to perform the same as the person who is really in shape? Not even close.

Structure is important not only for the attributes listed above, but also for those people that have disabilities and depend on the information being structured to get the same understanding as a person with out disabilities. You say MS Word is an accessible application, you are mostly correct. Does it create accessible information documents? Barely at best. The best format for information structure lay in HTML/XHTML/XML not in styles.

One current place that structure is greatly valuable is Internet search. Google is the top search engine on the Internet. Google uses the text in hyperlinks, the information in title tags, and information in the heading tags to improve the findability of a Web page. What are these tagged elements? Structure.

One of the nice things about a valid HTML/XHTML Web document is I can see it aqnd use it on my cell phone or other mobile devices. You can navigate without buttons and read the page in chunks. Some systems preparse the pages and offer the ability to jump between headings to more quickly get to the information desired.

These are just a few reasons I am intrigued with the Apple rumor. There is hope for well structured documents that can output information in a structured form that can validate to the W3C standards, which browsers now use to properly render the information on the page. I have very little hope in the stories that MS is working toward an XML storage capability for Office documents, because we have heard this same story with the last few Office releases and all were functional lies.



January 22, 2003

OmniOutliner shares with Keynote

You can now get Omni Outliner 2.2 beta 1, which includes the ability to import and export in and out of Apple Keynote presentations. I do a lot of thinking in Omni Outliner and really like the capability to pass these thoughts in outline format to presentation software. OmniOutliner already creates perfect XHTML as an output option, which has been a great asset so far.



January 20, 2003

Apple Keynote a wonderful tool

I have been playing with Apple's Keynote today. Once I figured out that the adjustments and transitions are located in the inspection menu I was having fun. Now that I have a reason to use Keynote I am finding it a solid tool. I am now wishing for AppleScripts to connect OmniOutliner to Keynote. I would love to drop my outlines into Keynote and parse them into a presentation. I tend to think in outlines and use OmniOutliner quite a bit.



January 14, 2003

3D drawing in Sketchup

Mike points to Sketchup a 3D graphic drawing tool (watch the animation in the lower right of the home page to get an idea of the functionality). The capabilitities in this application seem to fill the mind with possibilities.



Collaborate with iStorm

Color me interested iStorm is a Mac-based collaboration tool available for under $20 (including two years of upgrades). I am involved in more than one project that is running virtually and this tool seems what it takes to get the job done and more (yes, most of those collaborating are Mac users, but not every single one -- yet).



January 7, 2003

Apple provides new tools

Steve Jobs did the usual at the Macworld Keynote speach, great new products. The new 17 inch powerbook has severe lust factor as did the Airport Extreme with 802.11g (55MB of wireless connectivity and a USB print capability). The iLife tools are very cool and will be very helpful. But the two items that really got me intrigued were the Keynote a presentation tool and Safari Apples Web browser.

Keynote intrigued me from the beauty of it and its storing all the content in XML. The XML functionality could make reuse of the information in presentations actually usable, unlike the hardwork to extract content from PowerPoint. But, as we know presentation software is best with the speaking note or the spoken versions that go along with the presentation. Keynote could be a good first step. At least Apple is thinking in the right direction with a beautiful product that provides easy reuse.

Safari had me dying to get home to my Mac to download and test it. So far I am very impressed with not only the speed, which is great, but the proper rendering of pages. Safari handles XHTML and CSS box model beautifully. I only had so problems in Tantek's CSS examples. I went through much of Eric Meyer's CSS site worked very well with no discernable problems that I saw. I am very happy with it. It really could use back function on its right mouse menu. Time will tell if this replaces Chimera as my browser of choice.



January 5, 2003

Touch Graph tool for viewing relationships

Stuart has been discussing Touch Graph lately and has me quite intrigued. There seem to be many uses that would be helpful on a regular basis. Using the tool to view clickstreams or to view actual site maps (versus heirarchial site maps) would be helpful.


December 12, 2002

Heuristic evaluation template for OmniOutliner

Michael post his OmniOutliner Heuristic evaluation template. This is going to be a well used template, too bad I don't have a Mac at work or it would really be well used.

For the unwashed, the OmniOutliner is a Mac outlining tool that is fantastic for todo lists, building outlines for work, us outlines with categories, etc. I tend to think in outline format when I really try to structure ideas as a foundation for easily understood communication. One of the great things about Outliner is the ability to output wonderful HTML from your hierarchial outlines. I have done this a couple times and pulled it into Dreamweaver MX code view to see beautiful XHTML with validating nested unordered lists. It was such a wonderful site to see an application that generates validating code and well structured information at that.



July 15, 2002

OS X Updates

A couple of good Apple updates today. MS adds Palm synch to Entourage, which I have been hoping would get here since I started using Entourage in January. (No, I have not synched yet). ATI releases ATI graphics card update software, which seems to make my TiBook speedier and even more georgeous. Finally, Apple releases Quicktime 6 and it is fast and clean with beautiful pictures. It was a nice update date. All of these finds can be found at Version Tracker for OS X.


June 10, 2002

Adobe cross platform upgrade is key to Mac

On my way home from a day long meeting I stopped in an Apple store (they are like magnets). I had to ask about an upgrade to Adobe Photoshop. My issue is I have a current Windows Photoshop 6 application. I really want Photoshop on my Mac and really do not care to much to upgrade my PC version. The key is Photoshop 7 cross platform upgrade. It seem the cross platform term is the key to all my issues and having the capabilities of fully jumping to Mac with out having to pay full price for all the software (well Office I did pay full price, go figure). I have had registration and upgrade "issues" with Adobe in the past, but this time it seems I may find no long struggle. Yeah!!!


June 4, 2002

OS X Updates

Good news on the OS X front. Yesterday Microsoft updated Office X for OS X, which is a great improvement on my favorite version of Office and Word on any OS platform. The new Office really flies and is quite responsive. Today Mac OS X 10.1.5 released with a few patches that seem to have increased responsiveness also. It has been a couple nice days. Now I get back to writing.


June 3, 2002

PowerPoint War

A PowerPoint battle has been put forth between Michael Sippey and Leslie Harpold. The rules have been laid down and there is more info available. If you do not have a method of viewing PowerPoint you are missing out on the greatest tool of mediocrity. I love what I do because of my distance from PowerPoint on a daily basis. Anyhow, this should be great.


May 21, 2002

More move to Mac

There are more folks that are moving to Mac. Doc notes Ev and Scoble's moves to Apple and there is a list of folks moving to Apple noted at applelust. (The annotated version of the pro-Mac discussion found on this site was written by Charles W. Moore. )

I have been running this session on my Mac since Friday early afternoon. I finally trust the sleep mode in the laptop, which wakes up instantly, and the on and off the planes and capturing my thoughts throughout the weekend has been wonderful. I have been running MS Word (great on the Mac), OmniOutine, OmniGraffle, BBEdit, and Entourage for these past days and have not had to reboot. I have also opened for periods Adobe Acrobat, IE, Netscape 6.2, Mozilla, and a few other applications. I was missing nothing that could be found only on Windows.



May 14, 2002

Location Manager for OS X

The Location Manager for OS X, looks to be a very helpful app for folks like me. I like the network options that OS X offers in the System Prefs, but one that includes time zones and other helpful info would be great.


April 2, 2002

Omni Graffle out

Omni Graffle 2.0 for OS X is finally available. This includes free of charge Visual Vocab (listed in the pallette as "Garrett IA"). Omni Graffle is fast and easy to use. Now I don't think I will need Visio so much on the Mac.


March 21, 2002

Apple OS X version tracker has a bunch of tasty treats I have been downloading all evening. A update to iTunes, Netscape 6.2.2, and HP printers have been a nice treat.


February 25, 2002

A gaggle of Cocoa apps all ready to go. [hat tip Mr. Barrett (Damien)]


February 21, 2002

The system updates for Apple OS X provide an easy way to see new drivers and software updates. If you are like me an feel like you don't need to see every update, Apple's knowledgebase instructs us how to make the unwanted updates inactive.


February 20, 2002

I found Zoomify to be an insanely cool application. The clarity of the zoomed image was stellar. It reminds me of some of the LuraTech graphic compression applications I tried a couple years ago, when I was looking to build a document repository for Web based use that allowed quick loading snapshots of the documents prior to downloading. Zoomify would be a great application to inspect photos and painting details while keeping the image weight relatively low. Genius.


Those of us trying to develop or debug ColdFusion applications at home can take solice in ColdFusion single user license. This is only available with a registered version of ColdFusion Studio on the same box.


February 14, 2002

Joel explains the software development paradox when the technical folks and non-technical folks meet. I am very fortunate that I do not go through this at the moment, as I work for a client that understands the development process. I can not say that about every place I have been, but the developing a prototype in a few weeks that has rough functionality in it is light years from an actual product. The most important part of that next step is getting real data and getting a good understanding of the data and information you are working with as well as knowing what is to be done with said information. This being said is why many of us like using wireframes for interface development and not live GUIs (there are other reasons to use wireframes, but I will address that on another day, possibly real soon).


February 5, 2002

Peter has a good discussion regarding what tool do you think in, getting to the point of what tool do you put down your ideas and work through your ideas. Go put in your 2 cents.


February 3, 2002

Six Degrees software sounds like it may actually aid with knowledge management. The toughest part of knowledge management is getting the information and data into the KM system. This software's approach provides a cure to that at the desktop, where data and information are turned into digital knowledge. Joel has an overview of Six Degrees on his site.


January 6, 2002

After procrastinating for long enough and reading Nick's review in Digital Web I upgraded to Homesite 5. This is what I used to update and validate sections of this site to XHTML. I have been using Homesite for work projects for a few years, but rarely used it for this site or other personal projects (just a quirk) as I usually do my work handcoding with TextPad. Some of the layout of the tools has changed slightly from Homesite 4.5.2 to 5, but it was not a major difference. I really liked the XHTML elements and collapsing the code, which makes finding non-closed tags an easy task.

I have been able to read through all of this month's Digital Web and can say it is a solid issue from end to end. I really enjoyed the interview with Hether Hesketh. I am also a fan of the two business pieces, Managing the client: A fairy tale and Building the Business Game Plan. Both of these business articles I have pointed others to already as they are great insights from experience.



January 4, 2002

Digital Web Magazine has its fresh issue out. This month's focus is business, but also includes a solid review of HomeSite 5 and review of Web ReDesign: Workflow That Works, by Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler. This is wrapped in my favorite cover to date.


January 2, 2002

Grokdotcom provides a good overview of the methodologies of Web application development. The modular approach is provided as the best methodology, go figure with an open methodology that is based on published/documented standard set of processes. The article ends up discussing Fusebox, which is new to me, but seems to be a rather straightforward approach to modular software development.


November 20, 2001

I am so happy as I have a system at home that is stable enough to build the Active State components: Komodo, ActivePerl, and ActivePyton. It is nice to have an option to the command line and to be able to test with out FTPing scripts up to a server.


November 1, 2001

Evolt provides a solid review of HomeSite 5. The changes from 4.5x seem somewhat incremental, but quite helpful. If you have a version now, this article provides a good insight into what you may be missing for $29.

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