Archive for the 'Software' Category

On Submitting Bug Reports

My biggest motivation for submitting bug reports is because I love using an app and I want to continue using it. So when I encounter a bug with an app I love using, I put time and effort to articulate why I consider it a bug, why I think it’s happening and how to reproduce it. The least I expect from the makers of the app is to acknowledge that the bug exists. Some app makers go beyond that and also tell me what they plan to do about it, when and why.

So far, the makers of the following apps have gone beyond. So I’d like to thank them for keeping me happy and making me want to continue using their apps again and again.

(listed in alphabetical order)

(reposted from tumblelog.scrufus.com)

Quicksilver to LaunchBar

After upgrading to Snow Leopard, I’ve decided to look for an alternative for Quicksilver since it really started being flaky and unstable (even with the latest builds). Upon reading articles on The Setup, I’ve found that people either use Quicksilver or LaunchBar as application launchers. And so I decided to try LaunchBar for at least a week to see if it would fit my workflow.

First thing I liked is how responsive LaunchBar is and that it doesn’t consume too much screen real estate. Another plus is the drag and drop functionality which saves me time when I want to open files in a specific application or move them to another folder. It’s also a joy how accessible and discoverable all the other actions are (which were probably present in Quicksilver but I never got to use). Customizing searching and indexing seems to be a bit more straightforward. Also, I’m starting to warm up having access to recent clipboard history which really helps a lot when moving code around. LaunchBar has pretty much been helping me make certain things I do very often a lot faster (like send files to BetterZip for zipping with a password, move files to the Dropbox Public folder, find files in a specific folder). So after about three weeks, I decided to fork the € 24.00 (well € 19.20 since I got a 20% discount code) and I’m really happy about the purchase.

JungleDisk goes 3.0

JungleDisk comes out with a new pricing structure and updates their software to 3.0. Everything now looks very Rackspace, which recently became their parent company.

Following are some notable parts of the release:

  • JungleDisk drives can now act as a native disk as opposed to WebDAV
  • Backup Vaults (stores filesystem metadata, specially beneficial for Mac users)
  • Folder sync (this I have to try and see if it works as well as Dropbox)
  • A new web interface
I’ve tried it on a Windows machine and it seems to be a lot more fluid compared to before. Haven’t really been using it for backup as I’ve been relying more on Backblaze, Time Machine plus occasional Super Duper cloning.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is it seems they still process payments only via Amazon Payments.

Flash Player 10.1 Pre-release

A pre-release version of Flash Player 10.1 is now available. Hopefully it does lower CPU usage on Macs as mentioned. I guess I’ll just install it then see how things go.

(via TUAW)

ClickToFlash

ClickToFlash is a Safari/WebKit plugin that enables you to well Click to enable Flash. Really makes using Safari a more enjoyable experience. It’s a bonus that you can view and download QuickTime format videos from YouTube.

Tweetie 2 for iPhone

Tweetie 2 for iPhone just came out of the App Store [iTunes link]. Within a day of using it, it has taken the spot of Twitterrific [iTunes link] as my primary Twitter client on the iPhone. It has again raised the bar for mobile Twitter clients. Following are the things I like so far:

  • Swipe to “Go Home” — Swiping L-R on the top navigation brings you back to the main screen (I hope this gesture is adopted to the Mail app so it would work a little better with multiple email accounts).
  • OS X Dock-style Alerts —A very elegant way to show that there are new @mentions and dms — just a tiny glow under the navbar.
  • Full Persistence — It now caches previous tweets and reopening the app takes you back to exactly where you were before, in case you get a call or have to go to another app.
  • User Profile UI — It now follows the same UI used for user profiles on Tweetie for Mac which I think works very well when exploring Twitter. You can easily see a user’s previous tweets, @mentions, following and followers list, etc.
  • Edit Profile — It’s now possible to edit your profile from within the app itself.
  • Landscape Support — And it’s configurable.
  • Live-Filter — Now you can search within your stream so it’s easier to find a tweet you’ve already read and want to go back to.
  • j.mp (bit.ly) Integration — You now get to own the short urls you create via the app by entering your bit.ly details.
  • Threaded Conversations — Reply chains are now displayed on one screen like in the Mac version.
  • Drafts — Which you can also send to Birdhouse.
Now, I can’t wait for 2.0 of Tweetie for Mac.

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).

Software I Use (A Lot)

After being a Mac user for more than a year, I’ve already developed workflows on how I do things on a mac settled in on the software that I use on a regular basis. Below is that list divided into those that I use daily and those that I use at least every couple of days.

Daily

  • Adium – for instant messaging
  • BackBlaze – for continuous daily backups
  • Caffeine – for preventing the Mac from sleeping
  • Firefox 3.5 + Firebug 1.5 – for web development and checking how sites were built(still haven’t gotten used to WebKit’s inspector)
  • Gmail (via Fluid) – for well, email
  • iTunes – for playing music and syncing podcasts to the iPhone
  • Quicksilver – for launching programs via the keyboard
  • Terminal – for doing some command line magic
  • TextMate – for typing, viewing, editing text/code
  • Tweetie – for tweeting (one of my favorite desktop twitter clients)
  • WebKit Nightly – for regular browsing
Every few days
  • Acorn – for ocassional image editing
  • BetterZip – for zipping files, specially for sending to non-Mac users.
  • CSSEdit – for projects where i need to develop a lot of CSS, otherwise I’d do everything in TextMate
  • Dropbox – for sending/sharing and syncing files
  • Grabup – for quick sending of screenshots
  • iCal/Address Book – for scheduling and keeping tabs on contacts (now trying out syncing with Google Calendar and Google Contacts via SpanningSync)
  • MAMP – for web development since I had one project that needed GD
  • NetNewsWire – for reading feeds
  • Time Machine – for regular backups
  • Transmit – for file transfers (FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3)
  • VLC – for playing media files
  • VMWare Fusion – for running stuff on Windows
  • Yojimbo – for keeping passwords mostly, sometimes a few notes
Next post would be what I use on the iPhone since I’ve been using it for exactly a month already.

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’