Tag Archive for 'software'

Fever° From Shaun Inman

Shaun Inman launched Fever today, a re-imagined feed reader. The big dif­fer­ence between Fever and other prod­ucts like Google Reader, is that it is designed to help float impor­tant or trend­ing links and dis­cus­sions to the top. So rather than read­ing through hun­dreds of posts to find what’s hot, Fever ana­lyzes all of your feeds, and looks for re-linking and repeat references.

I haven’t yet sprung for a license, (mostly because there isn’t any offline caching so that I can read on the sub­way). But, there is a lovely look­ing iPhone-optimized site, and it looks as thought­fully and lov­ingly designed as his web ana­lyt­ics prod­uct, Mint.

Be sure to watch the video demo, and note that Fever is not a hosted service—you have to install it on your own server.

wp-Hyphenate by KINGdesk

Wp-Hyphenate is a very promis­ing plu­gin for Word­Press, because it enables some typo­graph­i­cal con­trol not pre­vi­ously avail­able for the web:

With it your left aligned text will be less ragged, and your jus­ti­fied text will avoid the ghastly word spac­ing that has pre­vented seri­ous web design­ers from using it.

It’s still in its early stages, but I’m exper­i­ment­ing with it here – using jus­ti­fied para­graphs and block­quotes. Let me know what you think.

Out of the box, the plu­gin broke my linked flickr image codes, so I had to put <a> tags on the whitelist, so the plu­gin ignores any linked text. Hope­fully that issue will be addressed in the future.

UPDATE: Nov 16, 2008 – Jeff King has updated his plu­gin to address the issue described above.

wordpress.app

I’m writ­ing this from the new Word­Press iPhone app. It’s a pretty light, straight-forward inter­face. It allows sav­ing posts locally on the iPhone before pub­lish­ing or sav­ing drafts to the server, enabling offline drafting.

There is even rudi­men­tary photo sup­port – but you can’t really con­trol the place­ment or siz­ing of the image – it is merely appended to the end of the mes­sage. You don’t even see the image markup until it is pub­lished or saved as a draft on the server.

But even then, the lim­i­ta­tions of the iPhone become clear – there is no copy/paste, and the classes that deter­mine how Word­Press dis­plays uploaded images is unnec­ces­sar­ily com­pli­cated. (They should sim­plify that.)

So, though this is a pretty nice app, I’m not sure how use­ful it will be with­out more for­mat­ting options and copy/paste. For instance, I can’t even pro­vide a link to it’s app store page. Also, why doesn’t the iPhone have char­ac­ters luke curly quotes and em/en dashes?

UPDATE (from my Mac): Here is the link to the app.

Thsrs — The Shorter Thesaurus

Thsrs seems like a good idea: when you’re hav­ing trou­ble express­ing your­self on Twit­ter in less that 140 char­ac­ters, query the only the­saurus that only gives you syn­onyms shorter than the word you’re look­ing up.

omfg, lolz.

Pukka: Simple. Delicious.

Despite recent crit­i­cism, I use and love del.icio.us almost every day. Fre­quently, I’ll quickly book­mark a page that I want write a longer post about later, when I have the time. (A lit­tle short­cut tool helps to stream­line this.)

Pukka: Simple. Delicious.Del.icio.us pro­vides a few ways to expe­dite the book­mark­ing process – there are exten­sions, but­tons, and book­marklets – but, I pre­fer Justin Miller’s Pukka, a native OS X app that greatly speeds up the post­ing of bookmarks.

With Pukka, you don’t have to wait for any­thing to load – just high­light some text on a page, and click its book­marklet. Up pops the appli­ca­tion with the URL and high­lighted text already inserted. Type a few tags (auto-completes from exist­ing tags), hit return, and you’re done. Pukka recedes to the back­ground to do its thing, and you’re back in your browser, and on your way.

Con­tinue read­ing ‘Pukka: Sim­ple. Delicious.’

Two essential iPhoto Plugins

There are two iPhoto plu­g­ins that I couldn’t live with­out – Flick­r­Ex­port, and Key­word Man­ager.

Flick­r­Ex­port

If you like pho­tos, Flickr, and OS X, and don’t know about Flick­r­Ex­port, then shame on you. It’s a nice lit­tle plu­gin that will let you eas­ily export pho­tos from iPhoto to Flickr. It con­verts your assigned iPhoto key­words to Flickr tags, enables you to add titles and descrip­tions, and choose to either add the pho­tos to a new set, an exist­ing set, or none at all – all within the dia­log window.

The one rub is that it is made by an inde­pen­dent devel­oper, Fraser Speirs, who has to feed his fam­ily – so, he charges about $25. A nom­i­nal price for some­thing that has saved me hun­dreds of hours, and enriched my Flickr experience.

Con­tinue read­ing ‘Two essen­tial iPhoto Plugins’

Apple’s Web Apps Portal

Still no word on when or if Apple will offi­cially allow 3rd-party apps – but some of these are really cool, so long as you’ve got wi-fi or AT&T EDGE. Here are my new favorites:

  • Weather.com // Way bet­ter than their old mobile site, with fore­casts, and maps.
  • Fan­dango // Set your loca­tion, and movie times are not far behind. This is also way bet­ter than their old Mobile site, (as well as MovieFone’s).
  • Tipr // It takes your check total and a spec­i­fied tip per­cent­age and gen­er­ates a total that is a palin­drome – so you can ensure that you’re not get­ting ripped off.

And, some oldies that haven’t yet made it into the directory:

Airfoil 2

Airfoil 2Rogue Amoeba released ver­sion 2.0 of Air­foil, one of my absolute essen­tial mac appli­ca­tions. If you own an Air­port Express, and are less than impressed by iTunes’ trans­mit­ting capa­bil­i­ties, plunk down $25 now.

The first ver­sion of Air­foil let you trans­mit audio from any appli­ca­tion, but this new ver­sion has some great new fea­tures:

  • Sup­port For Mul­ti­ple Air­Port Express Units – Send audio to mul­ti­ple units
  • Audio Effects – New effects built into Air­foil allow for enhanc­ing audio with a 10 band equal­izer, vol­ume adjust­ment includ­ing vol­ume over­drive and bal­ance controls
  • Full Apple­script­abil­ity – Con­trol Air­foil with AppleScripts

And, to top it off, the UI has been much sim­pli­fied. Nice job!

UPDATE: Ver­sion 3.2 was released in May 2008. See Rogue Amoeba’s web­site for more information.

Office 12

Microsoft unveiled its new user inter­face for Office 12 ear­lier this week, and they seem to have departed rad­i­cally from past releases:

…we set about rethink­ing the UI from the user’s per­spec­tive, which is “results-oriented,” rather than from the developer’s per­spec­tive, which tends to be “feature-oriented” or “command-oriented”… instead of hav­ing to learn how to make some­thing shad­owed, or what the aspect ratio is or the per­cent gray, you just say, “Oh, I like that one,” and you pick it, you click it and get it in your doc­u­ment. It’s more visual.

outlook12 outlook12-2

Word, Excel, Pow­er­Point, and Access are due to get the face lift, but Out­look (the one Office appli­ca­tion that I use con­stantly, and which pisses me off the most), will remain largely the same, accord­ing to the press release.

(Although oddly enough, xBe­tas has a cou­ple of screen shots of a sim­i­larly engi­neered Outlook.)

My ini­tial reac­tion is very wait-and-see… True, it looks like an aqua rip-off, but con­sid­er­ing I use the suite every day on my work PC, any­thing new will peak my interest.

M-Beat Theme

mbeat.gifI’ve been look­ing for a good menu con­troller for iTunes, and it’s been a dif­fi­cult search. I tested many apps, includ­ing Quick­Tunes, You Con­trol Tunes, and Syn­ergy. Each has its rel­a­tive strengths and weak­nesses, but I just couldn’t get every­thing I wanted in one package:

  • Dis­play track info on the menubar

  • Unob­tru­sive design, that blends with my OS X theme

  • Global key­board shortcuts

  • Pop-up floater with track info and album art

  • Solid app, that doesn’t crash

In the end, I decided to go with The Lit­tle App Factory’s M-Beat, which sat­is­fies all of these require­ments, and includes sup­port for skin­ning themes.

This bit of cus­tomiza­tion was the clincher, because I wasn’t sat­is­fied with the way the default “look” inte­grated in my menu. So, I cre­ated a theme to match my Milk OS X theme:

mbeat2.gif