Medieval helpdesk

March 8, 2007

Oh so good….

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Look Shiny

March 3, 2007

Look Shiny’s very funny take on Getting Things Done. As a follower of The David, it all rings horribly true… For all you list generators out there struggling to focus on your next action…

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Not Getting Things Done


Picnik

March 2, 2007

Picnik is a really wonderful new web service which offers users basic image manipulation tools. You can zoom in and out, edit brightness, contrast, exposure and a host of other tools, even a basic implementation of Levels. Quite impressive to deliver online via flash in itself, but there’s more to Picnik than that.

It joins an emerging field of creative web services which add value because they are online, not despite it.

For a start, it plays really nicely with Flickr, allowing you to take in and edit your uploaded photographs just as easily as the ones on your computer. And not just your own… You can do a full Flickr search on tags and titles. Very cool…

Second, it loads images directly from Yahoo Images, with a full search field and a nice clutter-free (and ad-free) result. I’d look forward to Google Images as an option.

Third, it allows you to put in a web address and it will distill all the images from that address and load them up for you to edit.

Fourth… it has a very nice full-screen mode, click on the Picnik logo in the top right and it expands to full screen.

Fifth… it will work with your webcam. I can see Photo Booth type Firefox plugins ahead…

This might well give Flash a good name. Quite awesome… check it out before Yahoo buys it.

Picnik

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Blogging and thoughts on software…

February 26, 2007

I’ve been considering buying software for writing this blog. I’m in two minds now… specifically Mars Edit versus MacJournal.

MarsEdit has a beautiful and simple clean interface and it’s cheaper… does the job, in fact does it well and pleasurably.

MacJournal is serious. It’s really well made and has lots of heavy functionality built in. Including a Full Screen mode which I’m using now. It’s a fine thing, a mature and well developed piece of software. And it costs more…

MacJournal is a piece of software that’s hung around me for quite some time. Back when the now quiet (but then raucous…) As the Apple Turns was in my everyday browsing, I came across it. The site author, Jack, loved it. I downloaded it but given that I wasn’t blogging, found only a small use for it. But I’ve tried it quite regularly over the years, liking the capabilities but not really having a use. So now that I’m blogging I should have a use… right?

Or is there a reason we never dated… Perhaps the simple approach of MarsEdit will ultimately be the better choice. I’ve been enjoying less heavily laden software lately, preferring a melange of programs each of which focus on doing one thing well.

I encountered this most recently when I was asked to give an introduction to the Mac experience by a local body who had acquired a number of Macs. I enquired a little deeper and it transpired that they had set up a network, including a server which had common files on it, and were just running Office. I visited one of them and all of her questions were about Entourage.

Once the initial wave of depression that washed over me, I sat back and thought a little. This was a familiar setup for all of them, they had essentially re-created their old Wintel network, just this time they were using a bunch of Macs. She seemed pleased that everything seemed ‘easy to work out’ and she was probably glad of the virus issue being put aside, they had been plagued by them.

She said they had decided to use Entourage because “ Apple’s Mail wasn’t very good.” As she did this she pointed at the dizzying array of buttons in Entourage and her mouse ran over long and nested menus…. It looked deep, it looked like you could do lots of things you’d rarely choose to do and would struggle to find the things you wanted to do.

And really that’s all she was looking for from me: How Do I Find The Things In Entourage I Want To Do.

She thought that was reasonable, I guess she was used to the struggle.

I have to say, I was a reluctant Apple Mail user, even though I love it now, I love the ubiquitous nature of it and the other core apps, Address Book and iCal. That trio of products won me gradually over and away from initially Palm Desktop and then Entourage.

One of their principal benefits is their level of integration in the system and the ease with which other developers can call upon them. Not only that, there’s a lot of plugins I use every day which have expanded it’s functionality and kept it current.

I can’t imagine using Entourage and hiding there safe inside the Microsoft box.

I think the idea of having a pot pourri of smaller simpler programs which work together might require a more innocent mindset, a sense of openness, a willingness to take that risk. That it’ll be okay, a sense that it will all work as opposed to a fear that it’ll probably all go wrong…


Apple’s iPhone

January 9, 2007

First I think it’s pretty fabulous. They did a typical Apple job on it. Take on a project the rest of the world has sort of done well, and make it incredible. It’s just like the iPod over again.

I wonder what price an unlocked one is… What’s the usual discount providers give, a couple of hundred?

I wonder about the EDGE and the lack of support for 3G. Not cool. EDGE is good but is solely US, right? I hope and presume that an EU model would have 3G.

Don’t think much of 8Gb, especially if it becomes the only widescreen large video they do. A TV show is about half a gig on iTunes, you’d get about three or four episodes on and then you’d be debating whether you wanted more or your music or photos or contacts…

I’d worry about the battery life. That high res screen will chew up batteries. It’s one thing for your iPod to run out of power, it’s another if it’s your phone. And something so interactive…you’d never put it down.

Jesus, it’s made for hyperactive, geeky types with a bit of money.

And I wonder just how many of us will jump on them the first opportunity we get…