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.


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.


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: