Instead of having to locate the file in the Finder to rename it, you can now just click on a filename in the window’s title bar to rename it. This same sort of thing works for bookmarklets too. You can also move a file to another location from the title bar by clicking its name and choosing Move.
Safari 6 has a feature that prompts the user to save passwords. A window pops up with the options to save the password or to never save the password for that site. I am pretty sure this feature has been around for a while, but in Safari 6 it seems to enable itself.
I am a huge fan of AgileBits 1Password, an awesome password manager for mac, windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android that syncs saved passwords and other sensitive data across devices and seamlessly integrates with Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. I prefer to use 1Password in place of the Safari password manager.
I found it annoying that the ability to disable the Safari 6 password manager is not very obvious. I had been through the preferences several times without successfully disabling it when I finally googled and found the solution here: Safari 6.0 Tweak – Turn Off Save Password Prompts
The setting is not in the Passwords preferences, but rather in the AutoFill preferences. To disable it, you need to uncheck the ‘Usernames and passwords’ checkbox next to ‘AutoFill web forms:’. It seems logical now that I know where it is, but I had passed over that preference several times because I was looking for a way to disable the prompts without necessarily disabling the entire password manager.
Last October, I got a shiny new 15″ Macbook Pro and have been using it as my main work computer ever since. It is much faster than my iMac, and other than watching movies and working in Photoshop, I find that I prefer using it over the iMac.
The only thing that has really bugged me about this computer is that the sound sucks. In many cases, the volume is too low to hear anything above the outside street noise. At least it was until yesterday when I discovered an awesome little app called Boom.
Boom is a volume booster and equalizer for macs. From the moment I installed it, the volume on my system has been quite a bit louder. After turning on the built-in equalizer and setting it to ‘Vocals’, the sound was even better while watching a video podcast that I had not been able to hear earlier. The app is $6.99 and can be purchased from the seller’s website or from the Mac App Store.
I am sad that Steve Jobs is gone. I didn’t know him, but like many other people, he changed my life. There have been many tributes to Mr. Jobs in the past week and it is easy to see how widespread his influence was. There is also some negative sentiment in which people are furious that so much attention and honor is given to the death of a corporate billionaire while the deaths of race scholar Derrick Bell and civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who died on the same day, were much less prominently noted. I definitely agree that the deaths of Derrick Bell and Rev. Shuttlesworth deserve at least as much attention as the death of Steve Jobs, but it is Steve Jobs’ influence on my life that I will write about here.
Like many computer geeks, Steve Jobs was a hero and an inspiration to me. He changed ‘thinking different’ from a reason to get beat up to a reason to be respected (at least as far as nerdy computer geeks go). I have been in continuous awe of the things he has created since the day my dad brought home an Apple IIe in 1983. That, along with a Commodore 64 and a VIC-20 that we used in the high school Computer Club, were the first places I learned about programming. BASIC. Loved it!
To a person who thinks of things in a very literal way and finds it hard to get along in a world where logic does not always dictate reality, programming provides a comfort, a world where actions and consequences are dictated by logic alone.
Aside from learning some PASCAL in college, I was out of the computer/media loop until 1995, when my dad told me about Windows 95. I got my first PC, a Compaq Presario 100MHz mini-tower with 8KB RAM, and read “Windows 95 For Dummies” from cover to cover. Over the next 10 years, I learned to build and fix PCs. I learned to build websites using FrontPage Express, a program that was included with Internet Explorer 4. It had a split view where you could look at the visual web site on one side and the code on the other, making it very easy to see how changing one would affect the other. I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about the Windows operating system.
By 2004, I was sick of the constant problems with Windows and had decided to switch to Linux. 2004 was also the year that the San Francisco Apple Store first opened. Lured by the promise of shiny electronic things, I wandered into the store and was completely blown away by what I saw. The operating system of the time was OS X 10.3, aka Panther. It was simple and beautiful, yet had the power, stability, and security of a UNIX based operating system behind it. That was it. The bar was raised forever. My first mac was a 12″ PowerBook 1.33GHZ PowerPC with 256MB of RAM. Somehow, that little thing ran circles around my 3GHz Pentium 4 PC with 1GB RAM.
I knew almost nothing about my new mac, which was a little disturbing considering that I could troubleshoot Windows in my sleep. Luckily, Karen knew how to use a mac and showed me the way. Before long, I realized that I was so confused at first because everything was so easy to do! I expected everything to be more complicated and unstable like Windows, but it was not. There was no need to troubleshoot in my sleep anymore. Like programming, macs made sense to me.
I currently use a 24″ iMac, a 15″ MacBook Pro, and an iPhone to do my work, learn new things, play games, and communicate with the world in a way that was not possible for me in the past. I am thankful to Steve Jobs for thinking differently and for the amazing contributions that he has made to the technical world. I am thankful to him for his inspiration and vision. I will miss him and the contributions he surely would have made in the future had his life not been cut so short.
Update (8/3/09): Added SuperDuper! to list and changed title.
Just got my aluminum imac replaced by Apple. The old one was kind of possessed by gremlins or some such thing. After several failed repair attempts, part replacements, and countless hours of phone support, Apple agreed to give me a shiny new computer. Loving it 🙂 The specs are not all that much different from the first one, but the parts are better, so it is faster and the graphics are extra kick ass.
While restoring my data, I was having an appreciation of all the great mac software out there. Much of it is free, donationware, or relatively low cost. Here are some of my current favorites (in no particular order):
Caffeine (Free) – A one trick wonder. Puts a coffee cup icon in the menu bar that, when clicked, prevents your computer from automatically going to sleep, dimming, or starting screen savers. It is really great for reading long articles and watching videos or screencasts. You can set a default duration for it to stay on so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to disable it.
SuperDuper! ($27.95) – I can’t believe I left this one out! SuperDuper! is a backup program that will make a fully bootable backup, or “clone” of your mac’s hard drive. I clone mine nightly. During my aforementioned computer woes, I recovered my drive several times using SuperDuper! and booted my laptop from the clone while my imac was in the shop so that I could keep working.
DropBox (Free to $199/yr.)- Online storage and file sync for mac, windows, and linux. First 2 GB of space is free and you can get up to 3 GB more by referring other people. If you click the link in this article, we will both get 250G extra space 🙂 Paid accounts are available with 50 or 100 GB storage. One feature I love is that you can create public downloads by right-clicking on a file in your Public folder and selecting ‘Copy public link’. This allows anyone who has the link to download the file.
Komodo Edit (Free) & Komodo IDE ($99-$245) – Both of these code editors are great. Komodo edit has an excellent set of features for a free app. Multiple languages, code formatting, auto-indent and more. Komodo IDE adds debugging, a code browser, source-control systems integration, and other handy tools like a regular expressions toolkit.
MAMP (Free) – MAMP rocks! It is a really quick way to set up a local development environment. Installs and configures Apache, PHP, MySQL, and phpMyAdmin in a self-contained directory that will not interfere with any existing Apache installations.
Transmit ($29.95) – There are some great free FTP clients out there, but I really love the Transmit interface, mac integration, and the fact that it can handle any FTP task I throw at it (SFTP, TLS/SSL, WebDav, iDisk, Amazon S3, server to server transfers and lots more. If you have mobileMe, you can sync your accounts between macs.
Bookdog ($19.95) – Syncs bookmarks between browsers. Amazing. Removes duplicates, sorts, and verifies links. Syncs with del.icio.us and Google Bookmarks and works with tons of browsers.
ImageWell (~$18) – I have had this tiny app for years and use it all the time. Great for quickly resizing images and adding watermarks. Photoshop and other apps will do the same thing, but none will do it as fast or as easy.
ColorTagGen (Free) – Another app I use all the time. Lets you use the mac color picker to generate hexidecimal and RGB values of colors. A closely related app which I also use is Hex Color Picker (Donationware) which adds a tab to the system-wide color panel that allows you to see and edit the hex color code for any color.
Bento – ($49) – Bento (made by FileMaker) is drag and drop easy to use database software. I can never decide if I like it or hate it, but find myself using it more and more. It is great for simple databases like a client list or home inventory, but I often wish it had more relational database features like FileMaker. Bento is also slow to open and I use it for information that I need to access quickly. On the other hand, it does more than a spreadsheet and makes data pretty.
Together ($39) – Junk drawer software. A place to put all that random information that you want to be able to reference in the future. I tried a bunch of apps when it was time to replace my beloved Yojimbo, which was starting to feel out of date and cumbersome. Together came out on top for having the features I needed without being too complicated or too basic.
Text Edit – Basic mac text editing program. I default to plain text format and use this all the time to clean text that was sent to me by clients in Word or copied from a web page. I also use it for a notepad and scratch pad.
LaunchBar (~$34) – Quickly launch applications, access clipboard history, find documents, and much more with your keyboard. Very similar to QuickSilver, which I used to love, but started having problems with, possibly because it is in perpetual beta. Still, it is a classic and it is free.
MenuCalendarClock (Free, $19.95 for advanced features) – I love this tiny app. Lets you customize the menu bar display of time and date (best to disable default time display in System Preferences). Clicking on the menu bar date/time drops down a calendar that highlights days with scheduled events. Hover over the dates and a tooltip appears showing the events for that day. Lots of other cool features. Not really sure which ones are in free vs. paid version, but there is a comparison at the site.
DragThing (Shareware, $29) – Dock replacement. Allows you to create multiple docks, each with multiple tabs, and place them anywhere you want. Along with LaunchBar, this is one of the first things I install on any mac. I wrote a post about DragThing last year.
Default Folder X ($34.95) – Adds many useful features to Open and Save dialog boxes. Choose recent and favorite folders quickly. Assign default folders for applications. Menu bar icon for fast access to favorite and recent folders, open finder windows, and all other folders through flyout menus.
PathFinder ($39.95) – Finder replacement (works alongside of Finder). Adds about a million features that you wish were in the Finder. More sorting and display options, dual pane browser for side by side folders in one window, tabs, drop stack to hold files in a temporary stack, and more.
1Password ($39.95) – Store logins, passwords, credit card info, and secure notes. Integrates with most browsers allowing you to log into websites and enter credit card information with just a few keystrokes. You only need to remember one master password to allow the browsers access to the stored information. Pretty amazing if you have tons of logins to remember and/or shop online.
TextExpander ($29.95), Typinator ($19.99) , TypeIt4Me ($27) – Thanks to the many mac software bundles, I have somehow managed to have a license to all 3 of these apps. Currently I am using TextExpander, but I don’t think I have a preference. They all have their pros and cons. Mostly pros. All 3 apps basically do the same thing – inserting text and/or images when you type a short abbreviation. For example, when I type bsig, it automatically changes to my 4 line business email signature. Also great for canned responses, code snippets, email addresses, phone numbers, common typos, URLs, and anything else that you type regularly.
Paparazzi (Donationware) – Another one trick wonder. Takes full page screenshots of web pages. Very handy for designers and developers that need to view an entire web page at one time.
World of Goo ($20) – Not sure what to say about World of Goo except that you should try the demo (mac, windows, linux). Completely original game involving balls of goo with different physical properties. The “dialog” and sounds are funny, the graphics and animation are excellent, and it’s very fun! Warning: May also cause extreme frustration in certain circumstances.
That is all I can think of for now. Curious what other people’s favorite apps are. I’ll try just about anything that has a demo version.
Komodo Edit 5 has been my default code editor for the past week or so. It is much faster and nicer to look at than previous versions that I have tried. I switch default code editors almost as often as I switch default browsers. There are so many good ones out there, but none feels exactly right. Considering I spend most of my days switching between browsers and editor, I like to keep up with the latest that is available for mac.
One of the things I am most picky about in an editor is the color scheme. It is very hard for me to find schemes that I can stand to stare at for long periods of time. Schemes with white/light backgrounds and colored text are usually too bright for me and dark schemes are usually either too high or too low contrast. For this reason, I usually end up making my own.
If anyone else is using Komodo Edit (or Komodo IDE) and is similarly picky about color schemes, I have made it available for download.
Update (3/4/09): Changed CSS comment color from green to default grey.
Update (3/21/09): Downloaded the trial version of Komodo IDE 5 yesterday and noticed that schemes switched over automatically. [update: bought Komodo IDE 5 after trial expired. Still loving it (1/17/10)]
Update (3/24/09): Fixed issue with some defaults changing from white to black text after update to Komodo 5.1. Added language specific colors for Smarty.
Update (8/23/09): Changed Common Syntax bracehighlight background color from dark grey to yellow for increased visibility.
Update (9/17/09): Changed Find highlighting indicator background color from yellow to green for increased readability.
Update (1/17/10): Changed Tag matching indicator background color from orange to light blue for increased readability.
Update (10/14/10): A few settings were changed slightly after installing Komodo 6.0. Still assessing whether I will change them back or keep them as is.
Update (6/1/11): CSS identifier color changed to increase readability, reduce eye-strain, and match other scheme colors better.
Update (7/9/11): All is well in Komodo 7.0-alpha3 except for the new HTML5 scheme not matching at all. Will get to that if I can ever find some time.
Update (12/28/11): This scheme has been included as a default scheme in Komodo 7 and is now called Dark_Chalkboard. Thanks to ActiveState for including it.
Sometimes, I get bad pain and weakness in my hands. It is some combination of arthritis, carpal tunnel, and overuse. Yesterday, it got worse than it has been in a very long time. I spent most of the day photoshopping and coding (aka typing). I also did karate, which I am sure did not help. Last night, my right hand was stuck in a claw, and this morning I could barely use my mouse at all.
I turned on a couple of the accessibility features that are part of OS X (mac operating system). First, I turned on ‘mouse keys’. This is an amazing feature which allows you to do everything you can with a mouse using the number pad. You can not use the numpad for numbers when it is turned on. I could move the cursor in every direction, click things, drag or resize windows, etc.
I also turned on speech recognition, which allows you to speak commands instead of clicking on them. I could open or close windows and programs, switch between them, save things, copy and paste, navigate menu items, get new mail, and even go back and forward in my browser.
While I was not brave enough to try Photoshop, I managed to work for most of the day using my voice and left hand for everything except typing. I suppose I could have typed lefty too, but since it wasn’t so bad with a wrist brace on, I decided against it. I think much too fast to type slowly.
It was really great that in just a few minutes, I could find an alternative way to use my computer. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can play warcrack without my right hand.
Completely unrelated random mac fact: While I was writing this, I opened the apple dictionary to find out how to spell carpal tunnel and discovered that a Wikipedia search and Apple technical terms dictionary have been added to the standard dictionary and thesaurus. Wikipedia searches stay inside the dictionary window. Nice. I also noticed that the app has become very wiki-like in the way that every printed word is linked to its entry in the dictionary. The links are not obvious until you hover over them which is also very nice. Hard to image reading a dictionary covered in bright blue underlined words!
Today was the last day of Macworld. It makes me sad, but there really wasn’t anything left to do there. I saw everything on the expo floor about 5 times, the user conference was over, and I sat in on as many classes and demos at the expo as I could stand. I am fried as always, but can’t wait for next year either.
Macworld makes me happy. I got here at 6:30am on tuesday morning to pick up my badge and wait on line for the keynote. It was already wrapped around the block. 9am came and the keynote started but we were still outside. Hundreds of frozen lemmings. I got into an overflow room at 9:30.
I was browsing Macworld online this morning and watched Jason Snell’s video about DragThing, a utility that replaces the mac OS X dock. It can also be used in addition to the standard dock.
Half way through watching the video, I could barely wait to try it. I downloaded it before the video was over and installed it right away. It took me a little while to get it all configured, but so far it totally rocks.
I like the mac dock but I have so many things on it that they are hard to find. I run my cursor back and forth all the time trying to remember what I was looking for. Drag thing organizes dock items in several ways. There are options to create multiple docks, each with the option of tabbed sections. Many themes are included and the docks can be moved around.
I chose the blueprint theme and created one dock with 6 tabs (main, docs, folders, URLs, dev, and misc). I am also using the ‘process dock’, a dock showing all open applications. I chose to show these as drawers that need to be clicked to open (hover over is another option). One cool thing I noticed is that even with the drawers set to open on click instead of hover, I can still drag a file to a tab and the dock will open so I can drop the file onto the program I want to open it with.
Docks with drawers closed:
DragThing is shareware. It is free to download and try and $29 for a single user license. I will try it for a while before I pay for it, but even after just one day I can see how this could easily become a ‘must have’ app.
I am too busy. I suck at being busy. It is my worst thing and it always ends badly. I am not sure how to not be busy. It is a vicious cycle. As soon as I start feeling better, I want to do things. All the things that I can’t do when I am sick. I want to work. I want to play. Sometimes, I even want to see people.
I was sick for so long. First a year of bad meds and then cat scratch fever. I was lucky that the meds thing got straightened out before the CSF, but it is only very recently that I can enjoy it. Suddenly, I find myself feeling great! I still get tired and confused, but that is ok. It is part of how I am. After such a long time of not being able to do things that I wanted to, I feel like it is a race for time to do them now that I am feeling good. I would love to think it will always be like this, but the truth is that it is not and never has been.
The thing is, I think it could be like this most of the time if I didn’t have stress. I know that is impossible, but it would be possible to have much less stress. Only problem with that is I would be stuck not doing anything I want to do again. I am stressed by working. I am stressed by traveling. I am stressed by being around people. My brain gets overloaded and bad things happen. I get sick. The screaming in my head that is kept in the background by the meds gets louder. My brain shuts down. I twitch like crazy. I become miserable and useless.
I have no idea what to do about this. I want to work so badly. I love what I do. It is like being paid for doing puzzles and arts and crafts. When I code, my brain is in a happy place. Everything makes sense. It has to. As an added bonus, I get to take that code and turn it into a (hopefully) beautiful thing to look at. I am not a graphic artist by any means, so even the art part is like a puzzle. I combine graphic art made by actual artists, with photoshop skills and an eye for detail, and create an entirely new thing that never existed before. What’s not to love?
I was wanting to go to Florida to see my niece Hannah and the rest of my family for a whole year, but couldn’t because of being too sick. Then all of a sudden, I was okay to travel. It is a rare and beautiful thing. There was no way I wasn’t going to Florida. The trip (airplane, etc.) went pretty well thanks to Dramamine and, as always, being with Karen made everything better and more fun. Being in Florida was even okay. I love my family, but I hate Florida. I can’t deal with the hot and humid weather. We completely lucked out with that. Not insanely hot or humid. Last time I was there, I couldn’t even stand to be outside for more than a minute. Got instantly exhausted and dizzy.
It was really great to see my family. Hannah is beyond the legal limits of cute. It was so nice to get to know her better and see her sweet smile. I really loved getting to see her with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents too. They are a family. I am so glad they live so close to each other. Sometimes it is hard living so far away. Sometimes I wish Florida was in Nevada. My cousin Eric was there too. It is always nice to see him and my aunt Wilma and uncle Pat too. Sarah’s (sister-in-law) family was there too. It was nice to see them too. So nice, that we brought her sister Sam back with us. She will be going to acupuncture school in Berkeley starting in January and has been staying with us this past week. She magically found a great place to live in Berkeley on her fist try and will be moving in today.
Haven’t had enough rambling yet? Then on to the saga of the bad imacs. Me, my dad, and my brother all got new aluminum imacs last month. 2 out of 3 of them were duds. There was a problem with the ATI graphics cards. The whole computer was unstable because of it. Black screens, blue screens, strange graphics, freezing, etc. Windows X 10.5? There has been a firmware update for the graphics cards released that appears to fix the problem for most, if not all, people. Thankfully, my brother’s was fine from the start. Both me and my dad returned our computers and got brand new replacements. All is good now.
The new imac came with Leopard and now that it works, I have been loving it! The screen is huge! Not only is it 24″, but I have been using Spaces, a new feature of Leopard where you can have several “desktops” and easily switch between them. For example I can have photoshop open in one desktop, giving it the entire screen to itself, mail and safari open in another, Firefox and BBedit in another, etc.
Time Machine is totally cool too. I can’t even believe how easy it is to back up. You plug in the external drive and the mac asks if you want to use it for Time Machine. You click ‘yes’. That is it. Your hard drive is being backed up every hour and saving daily, weekly, and monthly backups for as far back in time as the drive will allow. When it gets full, it asks if you would like it to delete the oldest backups to make room. Unbelievable! I will still make daily clones as soon as super duper is Leopard ready, but Time Machine offers a different kind of backup that is easier to use, automatic, and frequent.
Just a few more things to ramble about before I go…
K – I am so very proud of K! She has been saving the world as always. In recognition of her hard work, she has gotten a promotion at work and is now a supervisor, which is the direction she has been wanting to go. Congratulations K! It makes me happy to know that people will have an opportunity to learn from her and benefit from her years of experience.
Rehab – I am meeting with someone once a week who will help me research if there are jobs available where I can do contract work from home or with a very flexible schedule. I would really like that. Freelancing is great because I set my own hours and don’t have to answer to anyone except my clients, but I work all the time and barely make any money.
If I did contracted work instead, someone else would be dealing with the clients, setting the prices, and all of the other business related things that I can not do. Even splitting the money with an agency or other company, it is very likely that I would make more money than I do now. I hope something like that could work out. I was hoping that I could keep my current clients and stop taking new freelance jobs if there were contract jobs available instead.
WordPress 2.3 Update – This one went much more smoothly than the last two. I wish there was a way to manage tags, but from what I understand, the dev team is waiting to find out what people want rather than starting with a ton of features that people may or may not use and then having to change them later. I am looking forward to 2.4 and the new admin changes.
Joomla 1.5 – I am working on a new client site with Joomla 1.5 RC3. It has been very stable and the code is MUCH cleaner than before. I love the new templating system and look forward to its final release and the updated extensions that will follow. If you are planning to integrate any kind of forums into your site, stay with 1.0.x for now.
phpBB3 – Love it! Tons of improvements over phpBB2. Current release is RC8. This update has been a long time in the making. I am hoping that converting from older version will not be total hell.
I have finally run out of things to ramble about for now 🙂
Before I start, I have to say that I hate the ad slogan for the new iMacs, which is “You can’t be too thin. Or too powerful.” I felt like puking the moment I saw it.
At Apple headquarters in Cupertino today, Steve Jobs announced a new line of iMacs, or at least differently designed imacs of the same line. They are made of aluminum and glass. Interesting looking. I am generally a fan of shiny things, but I really love the look of the white imacs. Why did they have to put that huge black border around the new displays? I’m not too fond of the big black apple logo either.
There does not appear to be a 17″ offering this time around. There are two 20-inch configurations and one 24-inch configuration. The new iMacs will still run on Intel Core 2 Duo processors and will now hold up to 4GB of RAM. There are still only two RAM slots, so prior planning of RAM needs should done if you don’t want to end up with an unused 1GB SO-DIMM or two.
Prices run from $1,199 to $1,799 for the 2GHz and 2.4GHz models. There is a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme processor available on configure-to-order imacs. Hard drives sizes are 250GB for the 2.0GHz imac and 320GB for the 2.4GHz 20 and 24-inch models. 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB drives are available on configure-to-order models.
The new displays are glossy widescreen TFT active-matrix LCDs. The keyboard has been redesigned to match the new look and has a few special function keys added for convenience. The new version of iLife (iLife ’08) was also announced today and a copy is included with all new imacs.
I cracked. Didn’t even last a week. I tried to resist, but every day I went to the apple store to play with an iPhone. The 8GB models were continuously out of stock. Usually the 4G models were too. It compelled me. Like the iMac did nearly 2 years ago, and like another mac most likely will at macworld 2008.
I checked the apple store iphone availability link every morning. Finally, on saturday, the dot was green. it was still only 8am and apple store opened at 9. We got there around 8:30 and there was already a line outside. I got on line while k parked the car.
About 5 minutes after we got there, an apple store employee walked down the line handing iphone shaped tickets to everyone. The ticket was a guarantee of 8GB iphone availability if purchased by 10am. We didn’t even have to stay on line, but stayed anyway. Less than half an hour later, me and K walked out of the store with a pretty iphone bag containing a beautiful well designed iphone box. I was kind of in shock.
We went across the street to the cingular store to add the iphone data plan ($20/month for unlimited data and visual voicemail). They let me log in to my itunes account from there and activate the phone so they could make sure the att account end of things went correctly. It did. Before we left the store, my iphone was working and my motorola was dead.
When I opened the box, there was a beautiful shiny iphone packaged in a very neat and elegant way like most apple products are. On the way home, I took photos, called my folks, and surfed the web. Don’t worry, Karen was driving 😉
The screen is beautiful. The video quality is amazing. The sound is clear. The screen gets lots of fingerprints on it, but you can’t notice them unless the phone is off or sleeping. A small cloth was included to wipe it. The cloth did an okay job, but the one that came with my case was much better and wiped off every smudge.
I could open a Word doc in email with no problem. The wifi speed is relatively fast. The edge network connection is more like dialup, but definitely usable. It is amazing to be able to look stuff up from anywhere that a cell phone signal can be had. This is something I think will come in very handy. I can look up directions from google maps when I get lost. I get lost a lot.
The touchscreen is fun, especially the pinchy thing where you can zoom in or out. I started out slow on the keyboard, but can type much faster now. Still using one finger, but I have read that typing with 2 thumbs can be much faster. There is a good video on the apple site about the keyboard.
One very cool thing that the video mentions is that the iphone will dynamically resize the letter tap zones for the most likely letter, and make the adjacent letter’s tap zones smaller.
Something that is essential to know is that you can zoom in on the text and cursor on the screen by holding your finger down in the area you want to magnify and moving the cursor. This makes it MUCH easier to move the cursor to where you want it to be.
Word prediction is much better than it seems at first. The trick is not to doubt it and refrain from backspacing to fix your own errors. Sometimes that is necessary, but most often, the keyboard will guess what the misspelled word was supposed to be, even though the guesses it makes while you are typing are not even close.
Word auto-complete sucks. While the late guessing of correct words works okay for typos and spelling errors, it is terrible for completing words. Sometimes it doesn’t guess the word until the last letter, making it useless, or even worse, guesses the wrong word on the last letter. In that case, you have to cancel the suggested word or it will replace your correct word. Easy to miss this if you are looking at the keyboard instead of the message. To auto-complete a guessed word, tap the spacebar on the keyboard. To get rid of it, tap the word on the screen.
I am loving the Notes app. For the non-mac people, an app is the same thing as a program. Usually, I have about 10 random scraps of paper in my back pocket, and another 100 or so on my desk, all containing information that I want to remember, but will most likely never see again. The iphone offers a very easy way to keep notes in one place.
This past week, I have been taking notes about things I have been noticing and learning about the iphone. For the most part, I think this is the coolest phone I have ever had or ever seen. I am very lucky and happy to have it. Even still, there is definitely room for improvement.
I knew going in that this is a version 1.0 product, so was expecting things to be missing or broken. I don’t think anything is broken. Some of the things that are missing surprise me very much and I am guessing (and hoping) that at least some of them will be added in a software update.
Some things that are glaringly missing:
Text select – This is so basic. It is hard to believe it is not possible. I have checked, and it really is not.
Cut/Copy/Paste – See text select.
MMS (multimedia messaging – text messages with pictures) – Basic mobile phone feature.
Notes do not sync with anything on the computer. Very strange. I should note — haha, note. that’s funny 🙂 — that you can email a note easily, so it is not that hard to get it on your computer, but syncing seems pretty basic.
You can not add attachments to email. I think it would be better to include the ability to email pictures, notes, and other attachments directly from the mail app, while still keeping the option to email them from the pix and notes apps.
No Select All option for email messages (or anything else). There is no way to delete a bunch of mail at a time. Why?
Not glaring, but still missing:
Voice memo – probably glaring to anyone who was used to using it on their old phone. It is kind of weird since there is an included recorder for setting voicemail greeting.
There is no video recorder.
No included games.
Other random gripes:
Some things take too many clicks. Navigating through different email accounts really needs to be streamlined. It would also be nice to have a period and comma key available on the same keyboard as the letters for text apps.
Keyboards for some apps are specialized and smart. For example, the safari keyboard includes period, slash, and ‘.com’ keys.
No way to choose which widgets appear on the main screen.
Safari does not remember the zoomed screen size so I have to rezoom on every page.
The screen does not always rotate from portrait to landscape view on the first try.
3rd party apps!
The way Apple has set up the iPhone to work with 3rd party apps is to run them in safari. To use an app, just go to the app’s url. If you like it, you can bookmark it for easy access.
There are also a few launcher type apps that act as a main bookmark page that is only for your third party apps and prettier to look at than regular bookmarks.
I am currently trying out mojits.com, which is a launcher type thing for iphone apps that you access through safari. Hard to tell if I like it because I only tried using it for 5 minutes.
I was pretty impressed with a shopping list app called OneTrip. OneTrip makes it easy to make a shopping list by offering prewritten selections that are organized by category. There is an option to add your own things to each category.
I also added a bejeweled type game, a movie time finder, and an app called iActu that brings the content of 6 popular newspapers in a cool looking newsstand style. When you click on a paper, the newsstand goes away and the news is displayed in an easy to read way.
WordPress iPhone Theme and Plugin by Content.Robot – automatically reformats your site’s content for optimized viewing on an iPhone. Thank you content.robot! I am using it on LBnuke, with the only modification being changing the blue to red to match the site.
Other interesting tips and factoids gathered from around the web:
“When browsing a web page in Safari on an iPhone, one tap of the top status bar (signal strength, time, etc.) brings you back to the top of the page, complete with the URL field visible.” –Dan Moren
Airplane Mode … disables all wireless functionality (phone, EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) but lets you use the iPhone’s non-Internet applications. –Dan Frakes
If your iPhone freezes… Reset: Apple’s first reset tip, which is pressing and holding the Home button for about six seconds. This quits any application that may have locked up the iPhone. Reboot: Press and hold the Home and On/Off for about 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears. –Christopher Breen (edited by LB for length)
In Safari on the iPhone, holding your finger down on a link pops up a balloon displaying the underlying URL. Also works on HTML messages in Mail. Holding your finger on a link shows you where the URL is really going to take you. –Dan Frakes
There is a great tip from David Pogue on the The Missing Manual website about how to type punctuation without having to switch back and forth between the letters and the number/symbols keyboard. Basically, you hold down the “.?123” key when you are switching to the numbers keyboard and rather than letting it go, you slide your finger to the punctuation that you want to type and then release it. After release, the letters keyboard returns. Click here to read the full keyboard punctuation tip at the Missing Manual site.
That is all I have for now. Maybe I will write again if I notice more things, find some cool apps, or if Apple releases software updates that adds new features.
I am now one of them. I have resisted getting an ipod for years, mostly because I find it kind of crazy that there is no way to input data without transferring files from a computer.
I have been tempted repeatedly, mostly by the shiny black video ipods and nanos. The screen size of the video ipods seem a little small for watching videos. Better to wait for the iPhone. 🙂 The nanos are harder to resist. I don’t need one. I have a palm pilot that does everything a nano can do and more. Still, I see them in the store and want one every time. Marketing genius.
It is likely that I will eventually get an iPhone. I will try to wait for version 2.0 when the initial bugs and annoyances have been worked out. The iPhone screen is a better size for video, not to mention the million other things it does. But it is crazy expensive, not even including whatever monthly fee there will be to use all of its features. Continue reading “Pod People”
I am back in the microsoft blogger lounge for the last time. I got to the show a couple of hours ago and have been wandering the expo floor to see all of the things that I hadn’t seen yet and the things that I wanted to see again. Curiosity drove me to purchase a $10 copy of OmniWeb. I have been curious for so long why people would pay for a browser when there is Firefox for free. And Safari. And Opera. Etc. The convincing feature was the ease of specifying per site settings, including custom stylesheets. There are some other nice features too.
I am glad I got back here today. Yesterday didn’t turn out so well. I never made it to the final session of the user’s conference. I wasn’t feeling well and ended up walking around outside for a long time until I felt well enough to get on BART. I couldn’t drive or take the bus when I got back to Oakland. Everything was wrong. I felt very strange in my brain and body. Sick and still in that freakin’ cotton ball. I walked home and fell asleep almost instantly and didn’t wake up until night time. Today is not so great either, but way better than yesterday.
I will look around some more, but I think I have finally had my fix. Still, it is hard to leave so much geekiness behind. There is a lot of cool stuff here but I am very tired and I don’t want to get stuck here like I did yesterday.
I can’t resist. i am in the ‘microsoft blogger lounge’, blogging. Here is something that microsoft has truly done right. A small oasis smack in the middle of macworld chaos. Round tables with back to back 17″ imacs. Groupings of comfortable soft black chairs and couches arranged around matching oversized ottoman tables. Powerstrips. Ethernet cables. Free drinks. I love it here. The noise fades into the background. Not fades exactly. More like becomes a blanket of white noise. Continue reading “Day 4 | Microsoft Blogger Lounge”
A funny thing happened to me on the way to macworld today… actually, it wasn’t very funny, but it turned out okay. I couldn’t get any parking at BART and ended up driving to the city. Got to Moscone Center with 1 minute to spare before the first conference session started; Mac OS X Hints. I parked in a garage on 3rd st. and was in such a rush, i didn’t even see what the prices were. I hope they take credit cards! The session was too full and i couldn’t get in. I tried a couple of others, but wasn’t really into it. Luckily, tons of other people didn’t get in either, so they are repeating it before the next round starts. I am in the hallway waiting for that now. Continue reading “Macworld 2007 :: Day 3 | Insomniac”
I am at Moscone Center. Just got my badge for macworld. No lines today. Exept for food! There are endless lines at the 2 food stands. The power tools conferences must have just broken for lunch when I got here and the food stands were just opening. It is a good time not to be hungry. Nothing going on here today besides from registration and the first round of power tools conferences. Even though I am not signed up for any of those, I thought i would take advantage of the free wireless while I am here. Continue reading “Macworld 2007 :: Day 1 | It Begins”
Work has been very busy lately. I have one very big job, and possibly several other smaller jobs coming up. I am hoping to be able to partner with d. We will try a test run with one of the smaller jobs. We have almost completely opposite skills and completely opposite ways of working. I think that is a good thing. She is very organized about the initial process of signing up a client, including managing expectations, writing contracts, and charging realistic prices based on actual time worked, rather than pulling some random number out of the air like I tend to do. She is also skilled at graphic design and has experience making web sites. If I had my way, I would stick to the (x)html/css and back end coding for the site and do technical support for the client after the site is complete. I would leave the business stuff, front end design, and client management to someone else. Could be a match made in heaven if we can somehow merge our oppositeness into a working business.
It is getting harder to keep up with school. The ‘side-effect’ of feeling better lately is that I have lost the super-focus that I was having when I was undermedicated. I have also been very twitchy and shaky which is quite annoying. It is a strange balance. It is still hard for me to get out, but not as hard as before. The main difference is that I am not completely exhausted like before. I can do a wider range of things, but am back to having a one second attention span. Going to see the doc on wednesday, but not sure if I am ready to continue experimenting with new meds and/or doses and timing of meds.
I am tired of waiting and waiting to find the right combination of drugs and going through long periods of terrible side-effects until the next drug or dose kicks in. I will probably keep experimenting, but am thinking of taking a break for a while and going back to figuring out ways to make myself feel better even when things aren’t so good. It has been very hard to do that while continuously messing with my meds, and I am hoping that taking a break will help, at least in the way of keeping things stable for a while. One of my best skills is adapting to life under less than ideal circumstances. It is impossible to adapt to something that keeps changing. Continue reading “Work, Weariness, and Warcrack”
There is a great list which includes many of the programs mentioned above (and many that aren’t) at xfreeware.com.
Anyone else have any favorite mac freeware? Please share…
*I am using the word freeware because payment is not required to use these apps with all features enabled and without a time limit. Many of the programmers accept donations to compensate them for their time and effort. If you can afford it and use the program regularly, please consider donating 🙂
I have read the mixed reviews. I have looked at the insanely redundant (yet CSS based) code. I have pointed and clicked my way to a pretty cool website! It is definitely worth the $79 price tag, especially considering that the price includes the entire iLife ’06 suite! (iLife also includes iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Garage Band)
This is not a professional web design/development application, and anyone who is looking for that will not be happy with it. Design options are limited in many ways. Programming options are limited to what is built in. Generated source code is mostly lots of divs with tons of repetitive inline styling and NO semantic markup. If you need a pro wysiwyg web app, Dreamweaver 8 is the way to go. Continue reading “Review: iWeb 1.0”
It got here yesterday. 20″ imac 2.0GHz intel core duo. 1GB PC2-5300 (667MHz) DDR2 memory. It’s fast! The screen is huge! Almost all programs are running fine and in most cases way faster than on my 1.33GHz/768MB G4 12″ powerbook. Firefox is running slow. Safari is crazy fast! Only problems so far are with unsanity haxies, and some mail rules confusion.
I transferred my user accounts from my pb, but am doing the rest manually. I made a web page with pix of the big exciting transfer, complete with slideshow, in about 5 minutes with iWeb. Drag, drop, type, publish.
I made a much better slideshow with transitions (the obligatory ken burns effect) and music in iPhoto in about 10 minutes. Syncing w/.mac is working really well to keep mail, calendar, contacts, bookmarks, etc. up to date on both macs. It is automatic. I don’t even have to think about it at all. Life is good. I am very lucky : )
Macworld is over. I am sad even though I really don’t think I have enough energy for another day there. Maybe another half day…
The last day of the expo is cool because everyone is trying to get rid of their stuff so they don’t have to lug it back with them, so there are lots of great deals.
I got a good deal on a wacom graphire tablet. The demo guy gave me a 20 minute lesson on using it. It rocked. The demo model was larger and twice as touch sensitive as the entry level play tablet that I got, but it has still got to be better than photoshopping with a mouse!
I also got 2 php5 tutorial DVDs for $10. Those were my only macworld purchases besides from granola bars, coffee, apples, and one soggy vegetarian sandwich.
I am still imac free. But probably not for long.
The imac is in the mail 🙂
I met up with Root and Green at the expo. That was nice. It is Root’s birthday today. Me and K just got back from her birthday party at the Pyramid brewery. It was fun and nice to see so many people that I haven’t seen for a while. I think life will return to ‘normal’ now. I will geek out in solitude. Makes me happy. And sad.
I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. The big bright shiny iMac is calling my name. The screen is so big and bright. I can picture it filled with photoshop and firefox and textWrangler ALL ON THE SCREEN AT THE SAME TIME! I can imagine testing a website on 4 different browsers at once. It is not the 12″ screen I know and usually love. Just one more day of being surrounded by hundreds of them. I will miss that.