Today I put the first shared RSS item in the sidebar. It is a post on the marvelous Engadget about a very special feature in the iPhone's diectionary. For those of you too lazy to click through, the iPhone is more than happy to suggest a swearword for you if it thought that's what you were going for. (Although, for the record, Apple computers (and maybe PCs) do this as well, but its cuter when a wee little phone says it).
I have found a desktop blogging client! SOHO Notes configured properly on the first go-around and everything is working great. Now, as much as I hate to rain on my own parade there are a couple troubles in paradise. For one thing I only have ten days left on my trial period and SOHO Notes costs $40...for that price I could buy a copy of MarsEdit and have enough leftover to license Stattoo (a cute little app from Panic). I'm afraid I'll just have to live out these ten days in paradise (except I can't upload pictures) then go back to the hell that is the Blogger interface.
I've long been a semi-vocal Ask.com hater. Honestly, am I the only one who thinks advertising to get people to use your search engine is totally lame? Anyway, today I set out to mock poor ol' Jeeves (who I suppose is retired now) by searching "good search engines" (hoping Google would be the top hit). It didn't come as a huge surprise that Ask.com was the top hit (and Google was nowhere to be found) but what did shock me was this:
Now, let's click through on that result:
As you can see (and as I said), it's hideous! I'm ashamed to share an alias with it.
(In case you were wondering, Yahoo! is much more modest, it doesn't appear on its own list of good search engines until #13. Interestingly enough Google's results are the same.)
Tonight when I tried to log in to get my hourly (more or less) HitTail fix I was told that the SQL server was
misbehaving doesn't exist (or access was denied). I never realized how much I loved that confusing, secretive service but now that I haven't been able to view my statistics for several hours I am beginning to understand that its quietness was one of its charms and the confusion just added to its aura of alluring mystery. Until now I never realized that I fell for dark, mysterious Web 2.0 apps and I'm glad that I honored this one's first and last request– to post about MacJournal and Journler. As a memorial I will be creating a HitTail label group (seeing as how half my posts are about it anyway). Hopefully I will wake up and this will all just be an overnight server fluke.
P.S. HHTSPIP stands for Have Hopefully Temporary Server Problems In Peace
I have finally caved to HitTail's requests and now I am launching a new feature: Software Sumo! Software Sumo will evaluate two Mac softwares (often freeware...in which case I guess it would be Freeware Fencing). Today we will be kicking off with MacJournal vs. Journler. Soon I hope to evaluate NetNewsWire (Lite) and Vienna. Any other requests you have for match-ups can be emailed to me. And now your regularly scheduled programming....
As the names imply MacJournal and Journler are both journaling applications. For the purposes of fair evaluation I have chosen to match up the latest free version of MacJournal (2.6) against Journler.
In this first screenshot we see a comparison of the toolbars:
Journler has a nice unified look going while MacJournal has a split aqua thing going on (however, in the most recent, fairly pricey version they have moved on to unified). The buttons are fairly similar but I prefer the ones in Journler.
Next, lets look at the MacJournal window:
We see there are two drawers, one that holds journals and another that holds entries. In the middle there is a basic text entry area with a title box, a main body area and a small button to lock the entry. Pretty boring stuff especially compared to this next shot of the Journler window:
Here we see a three pane, Mail-style layout. On the side we see the Journals (as well as a nifty calendar), on the top pane we see entries (with plenty of information about them) and on the bottom we have the text. The text pane allows for a title and the body text as well as tags, a category and the date. There is also a handy word count ribbon at the bottom of the window.
I certainly prefer the interface of Journler because it is more compact without drawers hanging out all over the place, it provides more data and it just looks better (if not perfectly integrated with the OS's interface).
MacJournal: 5/10 - Looks like it stepped out of Jaguar or Panther.
Journler: 8/10 - Doesn't look completely at home among other windows but fairly nice looking.
Both applications have rich text entry and picture capabilities as well as journal locking and statistics and blogging (which we'll look at in the next section). In addition to these Journler has labels (arrived in a later version of MacJournal) and better media integration. I personally never use the media features but I'm sure people will find them handy. In my opinion, as long as the application has basic text and organization features it can pass as a decent journaling application (or at least an improvement from using MS Word).
MacJournal: 7/10 - Has the basic features but not much else.
Journler: 9/10 - The only feature I wish it had is new Blogger support.
MacJournal has full support for LiveJournal and Blogger, Journler has support for most every blogging service. Journler clearly says that it does not yet support the new Blogger, MacJournal does not address the issue but I assume that is the case because it would not configure correctly (this is a problem I have had with all blogging clients besides MarsEdit and Flock). Obviously I cannot try out the blogging features (at least not until they get new Blogger support).
Overall, Journler has scored better with 17/20 as opposed to MacJournal's 12/20. This certainly reflects my experiences, anyone else who has used these apps want to chime in?
Journler - Free ($10-20 Donation Suggested)
MacJournal - 2.6 is Free, Others $29.95
As you can see, at the moment applications are only being evaluated based on two main points, if you have more suggestions please email them in.
Yesterday I posted six times (which may be an all-time high) and to my delight and surprise, my hits also took a pretty big jump (over a 200% increase). So in the interest of science and full disclosure I have made a chart (well, Google Analytics made it, I just cut it out and put some numbers on it) that shows hits with a overlay of posts.
As you can see, more posts roughly equals more hits. However, the recent inclusion of more images hasn't caused a increase in traffic (I'm not saying I'm going to stop, just pointing it out).
As the nice picture (I don't know how else to describe it) told me while I was waiting for a post to publish, I can use Google Reader to share items of interest if I have a blog. Well, guess what? I do! Some I'm going to start putting stories that I make reference to in the sidebar so you can look at them without having to do a Google search.
Recently I was looking at a box of your corn flakes which proudly proclaimed "Look! We're on the web!". I'm sorry this card is a little late but I wanted to congratulate your multi-million (billion?) dollar corporation on accomplishing what most ten-year olds can do. I had trouble finding an e-card that expressed my feelings so I made you one:
If nothing else, HitTail has helped me realize the obvious: if I want to find a free blogging client for Mac I should Google it (by the way, I'm the top hit if you do so). I did so and found several. The first two I came across, Bleezer and Qumana failed to configure correctly so I moved on to option three– Flock. Flock is a media-based web browser based on Firefox technologies that I have heard of before. Flock isn't an ideal solution, seeing as how it's a web browser and not a real blogging client which means the process of posting something isn't as simple. The only way that it would be quicker to use Flock is if I migrated all of my web browsing to it, which I'm not willing to do.
So, lets look at the rundown of blogging clients...
1. MarsEdit: The best one, but its not free.
2. Ecto: Didn't configure properly (and isn't free).
3. Journler: Great app, but no new Blogger support.
4. Bleezer: Didn't configure properly.
5. Qumana: Same as above.
6. Flock: Not much of an improvement over the Blogger entry client.
I think I'm just going to keep doing it the old fashioned way until I win the lottery (or find $20 in the street) and can buy MarsEdit.
P.S. Why do computers have such antiquated dictionaries? Flock (which I used to write this post) repeatedly told me that "blogging" and "Google" were not really words.
HitTail has finally given me a suggestion (right on
que cue). It has suggested that I write on the topic of "Journler vs. MacJournal". Unfortunately I has no experience with MacJournal (I gave up when it proved difficult to download). I'm not even sure why it picked that keyword, there are three pertaining to a Mac (free) blogging client but only one referring to Journaling apps. I suppose this is the point where I could put my faith in computer aside and use my own common sense to see that people want to hear about blogging clients but my experience is a little limited there too (but if the nice people at Red Sweater want to give me a free copy of MarsEdit I would be more than happy to write up a nice review*).
* Yes, my love can be bought.
TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) recently posted something about a review by David Platt that totally chewed out the iPhone. Now, I can accept that maybe Apple has made some mistakes but he was just vicious. Now, even though the ol' Plattster has a book published and is apparently doing some keynote speeches at events that sound kind of important I still deem him a nobody. Why? Because, 1) he is declaiming the iPhone from his seat atop his blogspot blog and 2) the site promoting his book is ugly and finally, 3) I've never heard of the company that published his book. This is probably the point where you decide that I'm a hypocrite, I'm a nobody kvetching about a nobody kvetching about the iPhone. However, I have prepared for your response and I have made a list of things nobodies can do:
1. Say "NOBODY/NOTHING is good."
2. Say "NOBODY/NOTHING is great!"
3. Say "NOBODY/NOTHING is horrible."
4. Say "SOMEBODY/SOMETHING is good."
5. Say "SOMEBODY/SOMETHING is great!"
6. Say things nobody else cares about.
Obviously the iPhone, which is the Paris Hilton of gadgets (except it hasn't gone to jail...yet), is a something meaning that only major columnists/newspapers can declaim it but anyone can acclaim it. The MS Zune, in contrast, is a total nothing so anyone can say anything they want about it.
What David Platt obviously fails to take into account is the sheer force of marketing behind the iPhone (and to a lesser extent, anything with an Apple logo on it). There is no other product/company in the world that could motivate half the blogosphere to advertise for them (at no cost). I think it's pretty obvious that the iPhone will sell like crazy.
The only question that remains is "will they also be returned like crazy?". I'm not expert on contract law but it seems like the AT&T contract would at least make this more difficult (if not impossible). If customers will be allowed to transfer the contract to another phone AT&T will be making a killing, they get to harness the marketing-fueled buying frenzy and reap the profits for two years while Apple may get stuck with a couple million iPhones and a bunch of red zeros on their financial reports (I can't even think about it).
David Pogue, a NTY tech columnist who gets out more than the others is my new hero. He racked up major points in his video pointing out the amazing "new" features in Vista (right down to its blatant rip-off of Apple's horrible, cheating chess game). Today, however, I fell in love once again over his iPhone video. Not only is it hilarious, but it does a good job of highlighting the iPhone's amazing features. I didn't even get mad at him when he pointed out some of its problems. Point is, just watch the video.
Still nothing from HitTail (except a nice comment from the firm's VP). It has logged eight keywords so I can only imagine that it will soon have a suggestion or two. I wonder if suggestions are based on repeat keywords or just volume of them....
So, those are all my applications (sans utilities and ones without an aqua icon). All the icons are Somatic by David Lanham (except the OmniFocus, which is updated too frequently to warrant changing the icon).
Annotations on the first one are pretty self-explainitory: x-ed out apps are ones that I never use but can't bring myself to get rid of. Hearted apps are my favorites (or at least two of them), arrowing indicate applications competing for my attention (i.e. apps that do the same thing) and the words probably mean what they say....
CandyBar is the only app in there that I've paid for, all the others either came with the computer, are freeware or are unlicensed.
All these applications (or at least most of them) are really great, so Mac users should check them out!
Now wasn't that totally (not) worth two (three?) days of silence?
Sorry I haven't posted for the last couple of days....you can blame HitTail, it has not given me a single idea yet. In addition to that I have a new addiction to DragonFable (from the makers of AdventureQuest)...so yeah.... I'm going to post something big(ish) later today.
So, I realized, maybe the colour (I'm American but I prefer to spell it that way) scheme is in need of a change. Right now we have this one (as you can tell):
Should I maybe go with a different set of colours from that palette?
Or how about something from a new, bolder scheme?
Or maybe an earthier, more masculine set of colours:
So, what do you think? Should I stick to the current colours? Change to one of the palettes above? Use a totally different scheme not outlined here? Change all the colours to black and post about how I hate life? All suggestions are welcome (yes, even that last one).
I was reading through my RSS feeds this morning and this caught my eye. They are the most prettiest lights I have even seen (even though the author of the Engadget post calls them "somewhat hideous"). Now if only fluorescent lights weren't the devil....
(Image done in Skitch)
Recently it has been suggested that I make some changes to the blog (notably, more content and more visuals). So, supposedly growing readership, I give you a choice: would you like me to post a ten-part photo essay on the decline of African wildlife as it relates to the world's worsening economy, or would you prefer slightly longer posts with the occasional pretty picture?
Overall, remember, if you want change (or maybe just feel like heckling me) you aught to speak up (like Kat did).
Here is an excerpt from a NY Times article about some new Sony laptops (with commentary). Although I originally planned to quote the article the NY Times seems to take this whole "copyright infringement" stuff pretty seriously (one-month license to post an article excerpt online: $150, not being sued by a major news organization: priceless). Instead I will outline the "interesting variations in traditional laptop design" that Sony has managed to piece together.
1. Low-profile, lie-flat keyboard. Can you say MacBook?
2. Small media control buttons on the front of the laptop. Has Dell not been doing that since the dawn of time?
3. More media buttons above the keyboard. Hasn't every PC maker been doing that since the dawn of time?
4. Pulsating LED on the front. Hmmmmm, wonder where they came up with that. Cougheveryapplelaptopevermadecough.
5. Integrated web-cam. It was cute when Dell ripped it off but this is just silly.
Obviously, the people at Sony are the pioneers in this industry, and the tech writers for the NY Times obviously don't get out much (as I said in the title).
Yesterday visits (not page views) skyrocketed from the area of less-than-tenish to about-fiftyish (page views were in the 120 area). Granted, this isn't suddenly the most visited site on the web but its a 500% improvement. There are two possible explanations: either I'm doing something right or my cat was sitting on the refresh key. Lets hope readership doesn't crash.
Also, I read that someone else read that the world's more successful blogs are updated 5-6 times a day, it looks like I'm right on track. (I, for one, can't stand blogs that are only updated a couple times a week, or, heaven forbid, several times a month.
Update: I got an email– from OmniFocus! I just downloaded the
beta alpha, watch my productivity soar! Yes, yes, yes!!! Today is a VERY good day.
Bloginterviewer.com solicited me for an interview (so far the name makes sense....), and although I was suspicous at first I looked around thier (very new) site and eventually complied. As of a couple minutes ago thier site was a little funky but by the time you read this it should be fine, so check it out.
Okay, I'm doing consolidations again because I suddenly have a lot to say (no thanks to HitTail, which has not given any suggestions yet).
The BBC – Britain's Trashiest News Corporation
I'm pretty sure the BBC's readership is lower-brow than they would like to think. In February this story broke and was, predictably their top read. However, just today it spent some time as the #1 read story (edging out this very popular one). The BBC aught to give up on real news altogether. I'm sure the Brits had a good laugh about this story, in which a Texas mob killed middle-aged man, typically American, eh?
Lately I have been having kind of strange dreams. For instance the other night I dreamed that cigarettes had been banned...and I chose that time to start smoking. After three days I realized how silly it was and I went cold turkey...which turned out to be really easy.
The Ellipses Are Coming!
I just realized that my last four blog titles have at least one ellipsis in them (I also just realized that the Blogger widget doesn't have spell check, so I'm sure I'm spelling ellipsis/ellipses wrong. Of course I'll spellcheck it before you get to see it but just trust me, I can't spell ellipsis).
Apparently The Phoenix O' Productivity is my most popular post (
curteuousy courtesy of my friends at Google Analytics) so I've decided to post an update (this is in lieu of a new installment of The Malcontent which would cover the same topic but is too format for my tastes now).
First off I put I desk in front of my window and now I can look out at the back yard and "be inspired" (inspiration doesn't seem to be my problem, it more the motivation to do any work). Then I took some ideas from David Seah (davidseah.com) and made myself a "Nothing Better To Do" Jar (in theory, I put tasks in it and when I have...nothing better to do I pick one and do what it says), the only problem is I never take anything out of it (I just put a nice "Dymo" label on it though, maybe that'll change things). Also from David are the PCEO (Printable CEO) forms which can be used to track time, manage to-dos, etc., I printed some of those out and used them (they're so pretty, I couldn't resist).
For several days all was well in Officeland (haha, off Iceland) but then the horrible barbarians of laziness laid siege to the castle– I remembered that productivity was work.
So now I basically play online games and occasionally come up with an idea for a story which I right down but never get around to working on (I also have scotch tape stuck to my elbow, it makes my mosquito bite less itchy).
(Also, OmniFocus has still not gotten back to me on the beta program...maybe they have enough testers).
Update: I forgot the mention that Quicksilver and I have reconciled ourselves. We have come to the agreement that I won't use it as a replacement for Finder/RapidoLaunch but I will still give it the respect that it deserves.
As those of you who read my post about looking for a free bloging client for Mac saw....I'm looking for a free blogging client for Mac (sorry, didn't know where to go with that sentence). So, just a minute ago I saw that MarsEdit (the golden standard of Mac blogging apps) had just released a new version. Now, as much as I love new features I wasn't excited about photo support (well, now that I think about it, I am) what I was really pysched about was the chance of a second life for my free trial period (many, or at least a couple, apps restart trial periods when they put out new versions), so I quickly downloaded it. I opened the disk image, opened the app and was greeted with "Trial is expired, enter serial code" (or something to that affect). Red Sweater Software is so off my holiday card list. Anyways, then I discovered the Blogger dashboard widget, which is what I'm using now. Its not exactly the same but at least I don't have to boot up Safari.
I just signed up for a service suggested by LifeClever (a blog that I'm too lazy to link to) that gives me topic suggestions (because I'm too uninspired to do it myself), I already forget what it's called– HitSomething or maybe Something Hit, well, there's a button on the
buttom bottom of the sidebar. The only problem is I think the service requires something I don't have– traffic, so we'll see how it words out. If I suddenly become insightful you can thank the folks at HitSomething.
What is so magnificent about a British guy yelling at a bunch of American dolts? Is it the threat of food poisoning? The total incompetence of the chefs? All the ruckus? The sheer lack of substance?
As if this show isn't good enough apparently there will be a new one where he (Chef Ramsey) redesigns kitchens with all the same yelling and (hopefully) incompetence. Is it fall yet?
So, apparently the #1 search that leads to my blog is "i do it i get a squiggly line under the event". Am I the only one who is puzzled by that? Do what? How do you get a line under an event? (Is it a Windows thing? If so why does it lead to my "Apple" tag page?) Am I the only one who is bothered by the staggering lack of proper syntax? I could understand one person typing this in but eighteen? I think that squiggly
lign ling line might have something to do with the same kind of bad grammar that would lead to typing something like "i do it i get a squiggly line under the event" into a search engine.
I really like the Milk theme...but sadly the route to new themedom if fraught with perils, is it worth it?
1. Its puuuuuuuurdy.
2. It goes well with the Somatic icons I'm using.
3. It makes me stand out from the average aqua slave.
1. I'd have to reapply all my icons (I'm not sure if this includes doc icons, if it did that would take hours!)
2. It might do something to my computer.
3. Shapeshifter is free for 15 days, what if I hate it and want to change on the 16th?
4. Shapeshifter made my computer lag.
Cons win by volume but by quality? I'm not sure. Should I live a little?
So, I've fallen into a posting rut. What can I say? It happens to the best of us (you're only supposed to say that to other people, aren't you?).
In my constant quest to improve my GUI I'm now pursuing the Milk theme for OS X. However, its not as easy as one would think. Apparently the file I need to download is a guikit or something which neither Safari nor Camino (yes, I went crawling back) seem willing to have any part in downloading. So now here I am, with my Aqua GUI which is growing increasingly annoying.
P.S. Finals are over (as of a while ago) and I just got my grades, all As or above except a D in math...ouch.
My four-day hoop-jumping session known as "finals" began today. I've gotten French and math out of the way (the latter being the most stressful, most dreaded, most I never have to think about it again (unless I fail, which I probably will))* so far. I still have bio and two essays for English to worry about.
Up next I have a study hall. The name is very throughly misleading, absolutely no studying goes on and we do not not study in the hall (if we did, we would get yelled at). I plan to make a .doc icon to match the Somatic Set (by David Lanham).
In other why-can't-it-be-summer news, I have recovered two of the textbooks that I lost on Friday, however the library book that I lost earlier that day is still missing. It was a good book too, and I haven't finished it. To distract me fro my grieving I have started the reading list for this summer. I have already finished American Born Chinese (its a graphic novel, not a real book...I'm not that much of a geek) and am most of the way through Speak** (which is a normal no-pictures book...I never said I'm not a geek at all).
It seems like I should wrap this up some how...so I'll turn it over to my good friend Mr. Footnote.
* Shouldn't there be a better convention for double parenthesis? It looks so ugly under the current system.
** I would mention the author, but that would require more work on my part.***
*** Footnoting shamelessly lifted from Fumbling Towards Geekdom.
Today I discovered iSwiff, a flash game/movie(?) player for Mac OS X (the only good operating system). I have hopped around the free online game sites and downloaded some that I can now play from my desktop (presumably without internet access (speaking of access, what the hell is IBM thinking? Using a word no one can spell as the number for their concierge (a word that no one knows the definition of). And, really, what the hell were the pioneers of the English language thinking? Two 'c's in a row, one hard, one soft? Does that make sense to ANYONE?), we'll see if that presumption holds to be true. Regardless, increased
accsess access (I've typed it twice in the last minute and I still can't spell it) to games right before final's week can't be a good thing. Oh well, I was going to fail math anyway.
Productivity and organization have always been big for me. A couple months ago I got onto a major GTD/hPDA kick (I even went so far as tracking my time. Then it died down (I just didn't have time to be productive). Now my passion for the productive has been re-illuminated thanks to kGTD and Ethan Schoonover. I have reorganized my workflow (see screenshot) made myself a new hPDA and subscribed to the Merlin Mann podcast (and, of course, I've subscribed to the feed for Ethan's wonderful blog.
I signed up to be a beta tester for OmniFocus (the new task organizer app for Omni, based around kGTD) some time ago, but I have not gotten an invitation yet (although, supposedly they are up to date with everyone who signed up before Memorial Day. It looks like OmniFocus is a lot like iGTD (except it will cost $40, rather than being freeware) but I like the look and some of the organizational features of OmniFocus more. (I must say that I have become a total Omni convert, and to think I was going to delete the preinstalled copy of OmniOutliner that came with my computer).
During my first kick I tried out Joe's Goals but it fizzled out pretty fast. So, today I wrote some new goals and now I am going to try it again (don't tell anyone, but I don't think it will work).
It is currently very late at night/very early in the morning (depending on how you look at it). I am sitting here, waiting for episodes of The Merlin show to download (I am on a major productivity kick). Is something wrong with me or do you all spend you Friday nights like this?
Last night I bought Candybar and changed my system icons to the Somatic set by David Lanham. However, little did I know what a hassle it would be. What I expected to be five minute process ended up taking hours (granted, I changed all the document icons too, and that took most of the time).
In other desktop-related news, I have modified my workflow to fit the Kinkless GTD system outlined by Ethan someone-or-other.