Friday, Jun 12 2009 04:42 PM
It's the last day of WWDC and I just finished my last session -- I thought I would share with you, my loyal reader, a few thoughts on WWDC.
As you probably know, WWDC is Apple's "World Wide Developers Conference". It's organized around three tracks: Mac, iPhone & IT. There is usually some stuff that crosses two of the three (for instance this year a number of sessions had info relevant for both iPhone & Mac, or Mac & IT.)
The sessions are organized into 75 minute blocks, with two in the morning and three in the afternoon -- They leave a generous amount of time for lunch (but usually have guest speakers) and there are many social activities in the evening (the only apple sponsored one is the 'bash' on thursday -- the rest of organized by various parties)
This is my third year going so I've begun to see some interesting patterns. For instance there are the folks who go mostly for social reasons -- They typically miss the morning session because they were out too late -- Often skip afternoon sessions and in general can be found surrounded by a group of people chatting it up.
Then there are the IT guys -- I really feel sorry for them because there really aren't that many sessions that are just IT specific so you often find them going to technical sessions. Some of them are pretty sharp and can follow along but often times it's stuff that that they just don't use enough so it makes it hard for them to follow along.
Then there are the corporate types -- People who's company sent them. They tend to hang around other people from their team and are pretty picky about which sessions they chose (and will skip sessions if there is nothing relevant to what they do) -- You can usually spot them because they are running entourage checking email constantly.
Finally the intense 'go to every session' guys -- that's where I fall -- I tend to attend every session (even if the choices are not terribly interesting to me).
Finally there are the labs -- I've always heard that the labs area a great resource but I've never used them much. In the labs the Apple engineers around a certain technology get together at a certain time and you can bring your problems and they'll help you fix them. This year for the first time I had a problem that I didn't have a good solution for and so I went to the labs. It worked out really well as I got to speak directly to the experts who gave me some really good ideas.
I wish I could talk about what I learned this year -- there are some exciting technologies in Snow Leopard that I really think will change the kinds of apps you can easily do so I'm really looking forward to it's release.
Ciao for now..
Friday, Jun 5 2009 10:17 AM | iphone dreamapp
No -- This is not the last post on this blog -- instead I'm referring to the fact that I got the last post on this comment thread (before they closed comments)
In case you haven't been following I've made a iPhone app for managnig your dreamhost account -- Initially it was spurred on by the 'crazy contest' but I actually had a lot of fun working on it (especially with a deadline -- honestly I do my best work under pressure)
My resulting app is called "DreamApp" and it's not too bad (if I do say so myself) -- Last night I debated on if I should put it on the app store or wait until after WWDC. I'll probably wait until after WWDC because I may learn some cool tricks to make it even nicer (and quite frankly releasing something before WWDC is a bad idea as your brain is generally pretty fried that week)
Speaking of which I'll be at WWDC next week -- Great Fun (most of which I can't talk about) and a nice time to meet up with some of my mac geek friends -- (in the picture from left to righ. Fraser Spiers, Me, Isaiah, some unknown tall guy -- from last years WWDC)
Thursday, May 14 2009 11:33 PM
Like perhaps many of you I live & work on multiple computers. It's almost a embarassing but I have
- A Mac Pro as my main development machine (and is it ever sweet!)
- A HP laptop at my 'day job' (While it certainly doesn't have the stylings of Apple it's actually quite a nice machine)
- A Macbook pro for when I'm away from home
- A Hackintosh MSI Wind that I use for fun
Crazy -- Four computers for one guy but there you have it. For the most part I can keep my work PC and Macs separate -- I usually don't need to share files back and forth and on the odd day i do need to share I usually end up emailing myself (or a USB thumbdrive) - A little awkward but it gets the job done.
My Macs are a different issue all together -- It's horrible to be working day in and day out on one computer (my 'pro) and then have to prepare a laptop for a long weekend away. I *always* forget to transfer something and when I'm away I'm always fretting that I am editing a old version of a file and then coming home is terrible -- I need to remember to transfer them back.
I've come across four solutions, however, that almost perfectly fix my problem and make multiple macs (or to a large extent PC's) sync up perfectly. They are DropBox, Evernote, & Mobile Me.
DropBox is the home run of this solution -- I had tried it about 6 months ago an uninstalled it as it seemed to be a resource hog (chewing up tons of CPU, bandwidth & memory). Since then the dropbox folks have done a lot (plus I've upgraded my hardware) so now it runs like buttah. You just store files in your dropbox on your PC and amazingly fast they get synced. Open up another computer and it syncs that. It even works on my work PC so I've begun to keep all my documents in my dropbox to have always access.
The other thing dropbox does is keep revisions -- If you modify or delete a file you can go online and restore it (I'm not sure how far back they keep them -- I suspect they keep them until you run up against your limit)
DropBox is free for 2GB accounts and $99/yr for 50GB accounts.
Evernote is a notes taking application -- They have a great iPhone, Mac & PC client and I use it to scribble things down. Like dropbox it works like magic and it's replaced my various folders of text documents, outlook items, etc. Evernote is free but there is a premium service for (I think) $49/yr that increases the size of notes as well as attach arbitrary files (so you can embed a PPT along with the note)
Finally mobile me. At this point I use it for calendar, address book and preferences syncing across macs and my iphone. It works pretty well for this but at you can get the address book and calendar syncing through google so the preference & keychain syncing is the only thing I use it for with multiple computers. I do occasionally use back to my mac which is nice but honestly I hope apple finds a way to make it more valuable otherwise they may not see my $99 come september.
Of the four DropBox and Evernote are my most favorite -- They work amazingly well and are free (but both offer paid upgrades with enhanced capacity & storage)
Saturday, May 2 2009 12:13 PM | DreamApp
I've been playing with a new project recently -- I honestly never intended for this to turn into anything "real" but somehow it took on a life of it's own. If you use DreamHost as your web host you might be interested in looking at this -- It's a domain & list management application for dreamhost accounts (and I must say that it's turning out pretty slick) http://dreamhostapp.com If you want to help finish it via beta testing send me a note.
Humpday, Mar 25 2009 11:55 PM | pluskit
Google just released a 'drawing mode' in google docs. While it certainly won't replace Adobe Illustrator it's still a amazing achievement for an online word processor and should be quite handy to toss up a few quick diagrams to explain a point.
Of course I've updated PlusKit to work with it -- Grab 1.58 and enjoy all of the drawing goodness.
Tuesday, Feb 24 2009 02:46 PM | rapidblog rapidflickr
If you've installed Safari 4.0 you'll notice that RapidBlog has stopped working. A fix is forthcoming in the next 10 hours or so.
[update: RapidBlog & RapidFlickr updated and should be working now]
Sunday, Feb 22 2009 08:47 PM
When I first came to the Mac there were a handful of things that I didn't initially get -- Honestly speaking in some cases I still don't get them (and/or think the PC way is perhaps better)
One of those is the font dialog (cmd-t) -- I find it so frustrating to work with and what are all of those little funky controls at the top?
But I digress -- this post is about printing. My first experience on Mac was 10.3 and the printing seemed a little funky, pages never quite came out as I was expecting without a lot of twiddling. 10.4 seemed to really improve it and in 10.5 it's been (almost) flawless.
Over christmas I was doing christmas card and made a custom paper size to print them out with -- So far, So Good. The problem is ever since then my default paper always ends up being the custom size. No amount of going to preferences, saving, restarting, etc. seemed to force it to stick -- It subbornly reverted to my 'christmas card' size.
Finally tonight I dug in and did some digging -- Turns out there is a preference com.apple.print.PrintingPrefs.plist -- One of the items in there is 'DefaultPaperID' which pointed at, you guessed it, my christmas card size.
Deleting that one plist entry fixed the problem -- Now I happily print to the proper size by default -- It does beg the question what happened -- How did it get changed and why wouldn't it change back but at least I'm back up and working again.
Tuesday, Jan 20 2009 09:44 PM
Monday, Jan 5 2009 10:32 PM | macworld
I'm actually kind of excited this year -- The rumor mill has been pretty quiet which means either
- There is nothing to announce
- Apple has kept a good lid on it
Here is my wish list of things I want to see -- Unlike some pundits *everything on this list is achievable today* -- I'm ignoring the obvious (iLife 09) and the boring (update to time capsule)
- iPhone nano -- No big screen, no apps -- just a phone that syncs your contacts, calendars and is an ipod (possibly wireless syncing with mobile me) -- A great phone for folks who don't need the big screen (I'd get one for my wife) and who don't want to pay the data fee.
- i7 based computers -- Ideally a 4 core iMac (24+ LED screen)
- App store reforms with trial period for apps.
That's it -- If I get 2 out of 3 I'll be a happy guy.
[Update after keynote]
- iPhone nano -- FAIL
- i7 based computer - FAIL
- App store reforms - FAIL
New iWork & iLife seems promising but hardly worth a MW keynote, new 17" is fine (and expected)
Sunday, Dec 21 2008 05:13 PM | MovieFlick
Over the past few months (on and off) I've been working on an iPhone app -- I'm happy to say it's not released. First let me say that any of my (few) readers who want a free copy just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'free copy for reading the blog' and I'll shoot you a coupon for a free copy (maybe you can say something nice about it in the comments in iTunes...)
Anyway it's an app for managing your NetFlix queue -- Sorry to say it's only available in the US itunes store since NetFlix is only (sadly) available in the US (For those of you outside the US I suspect you know what it is, originally dvd by mail rental and now also an 'instant' view for about 10,000 or so titles over the internet)
It's been a fun experience writing an iPhone app -- I'll probably end up sticking mostly with Mac Apps going forward since I enjoy the richness you can bring with them but it is amazing how much of a 'desktop' experience you can achieve with a mobile application.
If I don't post again before Christmas I hope everyone has a nice holidays and (hopefully) a prosperous new year
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