Archive for the 'Productivity' Category

Choosy — my new default browser

Being a web developer, I work with quite a number of web browsers. It’s been a challenging task trying to load links directly on the browser I want without having to copy a link first somewhere then paste that link on the browser I wanted it to open in.

Choosy does a wonderful job of opening links the way I want them opened. The default behavior is that it lets you choose which browser to open any link your’re trying to launch. But the real beauty is the wide variety of customizations you can do. Behavior can be modified based on several conditions like the following:

  • web address (eg. all links that start with http://www.grabup.com opens in WebKit)
  • the application where the link is being opened from (eg. all links from Tweetie open in WebKit)
  • number of running browsers (eg. if 2 browsers are open then open link in Firefox)
  • the modifier key you’re pressing (eg. Command-Shift-Click can automatically open links in Firefox)
Plus, a whole lot of other combinations. Still exploring the other customizations but this will definitely improve my workflow.

Keeping Passwords Safe

With age, our ability to remember things declines. So I’ve finally decided to use a Password manager, specifically 1Password both the Mac and iPhone version. Currently, there’s a 20% discount if you go via Steel until 31 August 2009. So I decided to just purchase it even before the 30 day trial ended.

Now I can start using harder to break passwords and not have to remember every one of them. All I need to remember now for the most part is 2 long passwords (or one if I use the same for the Mac and iPhone) and a 4 digit code. Another thing I especially like is being able to store credit card info protected by a password. No need to pull out my credit card from my wallet if I’m doing online transactions (well for those that don’t support Paypal, like online food delivery).

Having Fun with Mobile Apps

A week with the iPhone and I’ve already downloaded quite a number of apps, and I’m really enjoying using them. I’ve also started to use apps that I’ve only used sparingly on the iPod Touch since it doesn’t have an always on connection.

Continue reading ‘Having Fun with Mobile Apps’

A Mac Software List

After switching to the Mac, I had to find software that would help me do stuff I like doing.  So far, the following are the software I’ve tried and that survived in my Applications folder.

VMWare Fusion – Since I switched from Windows, there are still a handful of apps I use on Windows. I also use it for browser testing (specially IE6). It’s the first OS X app I paid for and I think it’s worth it with all the things I am able to do with it around.

TextMate – Now my primary text editor. The bundles just make it easy for me to code in just about any language I need to code on. I’m still discovering a lot of things about it but so far it has helped me to code faster and keep my code cleaner and more organized. There’s also a certain magic I feel when I’m writing code on it.

Transmit – I tried FileZilla since it was my main FTP program in Windows, but it just didn’t feel right on OS X, so I tried Transmit and it fell just right into place. After learning new and adding custom keyboard shortcuts it fits perfectly with how I work. I especially like being able to edit stuff on the server seamlessly.

Yojimbo – Currently it serves as my password repository. Hopefully I’ll use it more as a repository of other things that I need to take down.

DestroyTwitter and Tweetie – After trying out a host of desktop Twitter clients (like EventBox, TweetDeck, Twhirl, Nambu, etc.), I’ve settled with the two. I use DestroyTwitter if I want to keep Twitter less intrusive (i.e. when I’m in The Zone). I use Tweetie when I’m actively exploring the Twitterverse.

Continue reading ‘A Mac Software List’

Some Benefits of Virtualization and Cloud Computing

A side effect of “the switch” is that I am now reaping more and more benefits from virtualization. One of the first things I had to do when I switched was get virtualization software. This is so I can run Windows programs (mostly browsers) inside OS X as opposed to rebooting into a Windows install through Boot Camp.

I went for VMWare Fusion because of their Virtual Appliances. I was thinking that if I wanted to play with Linux in the future, I’d do away having to install and configure a whole operating system that I’m not very familiar with. However, after reading some very informative articles at Slicehost on how to install and configure things like Apache, PHP, MySQL, Nginx and Django on a naked Linux install, I forewent the Virtual Appliance route. I decided that If I am to learn more about Linux I have to go through the whole install and configure process and just create my own virtual appliances.

I think the advent of virtualization and cloud computing is a good thing for the industry I’m currently in (which has many names, mostly with the following keywords jumbled up – digital, interactive, marketing, advertising). This is specially beneficial for smaller shops who have less resources to invest in hosting infrastructure. Continue reading ‘Some Benefits of Virtualization and Cloud Computing’

The Switch – Barely Touching the Surface

It’s been a year since I made the “switch” and I’m slowly and gradually moving the way I work with computers from a Windows to a Mac paradigm. With regards to normal computer use, I’d like to think I’ve done a lot already — organized my stuff, installed several applications, setup a backup strategy among other things.

However, for productivity and development, I think I’ve barely touched the surface. I’m still learning about Folder Actions and AppleScript. I’m remembering how much I loved doing things on the command line (during the DOS days) when I use Terminal. I’m still figuring out how to customize TextMate (which I’m starting to really love) with the way I think about code. I’m also picking a whole lot of things from the community of indie Mac developers, which I want to be part of really really soon.

I’m still learning and I guess sometimes it’s harder for me to learn how to do things in another way after being so used to Windows for most of my life. But, I’m enjoying the process and I’m still happy that I did make the switch.

Wireless@SG Auto Login

The annoying thing about using Wireless@SG is you always have to login with your username and password through some website before you can start browsing. My flatmate recommended an app to make that cumbersome process easier, at least on my iPod Touch. SG Wireless is a little app that helps you login to Wireless@SG automatically. Once you’ve saved your login info in Settings, just open the app then it tells you if you get connected, close it. And you’re all set to use any of your apps that need Internet connection without opening Safari and having to key in your Wireless@SG user+pass combo. I wonder if there’s a desktop widget that can do the same thing.

Update: For iPhone, iPod touch with OS 3.1 and up (except first generation devices), you can now download apps from the 3 Wireless@SG providers that would generate a certificate for your device. Installing the certificate will make your device automatically connect to Wireless@SGx without you having to input any password. After the certificate is installed, you can just delete the app. App Store links below:

Of Mice and Wrist Rests

Since I’m starting to experience symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome again, I’ve decided to get my self keyboard and mouse wrist rests by Fellowes. Seems to be helping a lot for now.

I’m still contemplating on what my main pointing device should be for my home setup. Currently, I’m using a Logitech VX Nano Cordless which can become a bit uncomfortable for longer periods of usage. I originally bought it as a portable mouse for my MBP so I don’t intend it to be my main pointing device. I’m thinking of getting a finger operated trackball — a Logitech Cordless Trackman Optical or a Kensington Expert Mouse (if I can find one in Singapore). When using a finger operated trackball, my finger movements would be similar to how I use the trackpad. I should get the hang of it quite fast. I’m currently using a Logitech Trackman Wheel at work and the joints of my thumb seem to be a bit more sore these days.  Or I might just go for a Microsoft Arc Mouse since it’s pretty and I can carry it around. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Gmail Labs Send + Archive

Something new to help keep my Inbox clean. Gmail Labs’ Send + Archive. It’s useful for me since I Archive most of my email once I’ve responded to them so I can always have an overview on my Inbox which stuff I still have to attend to. Now I only have to click once to do so.

Dropbox link being considered Spam?

It seems Dropbox links are now being used for spam purposes. A couple of days ago, I was wondering why Google Apps’ Gmail keeps on rejecting every message I send with a Dropbox link. So I tried to shorten it with is.gd and my message went through. However, today I got the following message while trying to shorten another Dropbox link:

Sorry, the URL you entered may be linked to spamming and is listed either in the SURBL or URIBL lists. To prevent the possibility of using this site to facilitate spam, it has not been added to our database.

Please bear in mind that use of this service for spam purposes is prohibited (see terms and conditions) and any such URLs will be disabled, and misuse reported to the relevant authorities. I wonder if other Dropbox users are experiencing related issues.