Computer maintenance



  • If I used MySQL and wanted a native Mac client, I’d use Sequel Pro.

Homebrew, rbenv, ruby-build, openssl…

How to upgrade OpenSSL on Mac OS. Homebrew issues led me down a lovely garden path… and this guide helped.

Explicitly specifying the OpenSSL can work when installing a new version of Ruby with rbenv.

RUBY_CONFIGURE_OPTS=--with-openssl-dir=/usr/local/Cellar/openssl/1.0.2k rbenv install 2.3.1

Ilya





  • Mou. Markdown editor for web developers, on Mac OS X.



Hello Smultron

When looking around for a text editor for Roosa’s new iMac, I came across Smultron. Free until version 3.8, version 4 is available in the Mac App Store for $5. I’m trying out the free version 3.5.1 before splurging on it. It appears not everyone’s been happy with progress: version 4 has quite a few negative reviews over the loss of a tabbed interface.

Ilya


  • YeeLoong. "The world's first laptop which contains completely free software. All system source files (BIOS, kernel, drivers etc.) are free, no close firmware needed."

  • FFXporter. A free Flickr eXporter iPhoto plugin. Note: doesn't currently work with iPhoto 09.


  • Open Source Mac. Open source OS X software. I'd add uTorrent, and, for that matter, a separate list for pay apps.



Twitter clients for Nokia phones

I was going to write up a comparison of various Twitter clients available for S60 mobile phones, but since I haven’t gotten around to it, here’s a list of various apps and approaches.

Native Symbian apps

I generally prefer native apps over Java applets, but in many cases, this means you have to pay for the quality.

I tried Gravity’s free demo, but the demo’s limitation of not being able to post tweets made it hard to get a day to day feel for the app. Still, it seems quite good, and I’d definitely buy it were I not about to switch phones. (Gravity is bound to the device’s IMEI code.)

NokiaExperts compares Gravity and Twittix, and while they declare a draw, Gravity seems to come out on top.

WirelessIRC is from the same maker as Gravity, but has a wider set of features.

An interesting project to follow is TwitS60, an open source Twitter app in the works. Originally slated for a release in July–August 2009, it seems there hasn’t been much going on since early spring.

Java

As I said above, I generally prefer native apps over Java software, but with Twitter clients, if you don’t want to pay, then Java’s what you get.

Twibble is clearly the front-runner of these apps. The app itself works well, but the settings interface and tweet actions contextual menu are quite jarring.

I haven’t used all of these, but based on their sites, screenshots and feature lists, Twibble and Twim stand out.

Web

Twitter’s own mobile interface if fairly good, but it lacks some basic features, such as deleting tweets — and considering how error-prone typing is on mobile phones, it’s a feature that I’ve sorely lacked.

I haven’t used Dabr or Slandr, but they both describe themselves as more full-featured versions of Twitter Mobile.

Others

Finally, there are the strange ones. Via Twitter’s IM and email posting API, there are many other possibilities of using Twitter.

The usually impressive Fring claims Twitter support, though in the first version, it definitely was an underwhelming experience. Fring basically slopped bunches of tweets as chat messages.

Another mongrel of an app is Jargong.

There are, of course, more apps and web interfaces out there.

Final notes

If you want the best client available, I recommend Gravity. Out of the free apps, I recommend Twibble. Casual use is served perfectly well by the web interfaces.

All in all, the apps available for S60 devices aren’t nearly as nice as those for the iPhone. But then again, the same goes for the apps for a Mac versus the ones for Windows.

Update: Added TweetS60 on August 24th, 2009.

Ilya


  • Library Books. A neat Mac OS X app that talks with your local library and helps you avoid overdue fines!



  • John Siracusa's Leopard review. I finally finished reading it. Leopard being the first OS release since my switch, this was my first Siracusa review. Thanks, Gruber, for pointing it out!




  • FUSE on the Mac. “Using Filesystem in Userspace modules, you can mount all sorts of innovative resources — Gmail, your Flickr photos, a remote SSH server — directly into your local machine’s filesystem and use their contents exactly as if they were normal files.”



Real world passwords

Bruce Schneier: “We used to quip that ‘password’ is the most common password. Now it’s ‘password1.’ Who said users haven’t learned anything about security?”

Ilya

Firefox-lispalikoita

Lisisin thn listaan viel vrikoodatut vlilehti-ikonit ja Web Developerin kaveriksi Firebugin.

Ilya

Matias Tactile Pro USB — best keyboard ever?

Is Matias Tactile Pro USB Keyboard the best keyboard ever? I have no idea. Luckily, there’s a lot more to know about keyboards.

I like keyboards that make loud clacking sounds when you press the keys. You can get big old “clackies” from the Kylsaari recycling center for five euros a piece.

Ilya


It may not be Copilot, but it’s free (if you have Win XP)

Step-by-Step Guide to Remote Assistance for Windows XP.

Ilya

Session extension

Ever since Marko Samuli showed me Firefox’s Session extension, my pain has been less. I’m actually able to close Firefox once in a while. It’s still miles behind Opera’s usability.

Ilya


  • GIMPshop is GIMP with the user interface tweaked to resemble Photoshop’s. This is such good news.

Concurrency is coming, ready or not

Processors can’t get much faster, so they’re going parallel, and sooner than you think. From a sidebar: “ Today’s single-threaded applications as actually used in the field could actually see a performance boost for most users by going to a dual-core chip, not because the extra core is actually doing anything useful, but because it is running the adware and spyware that infest many users’ systems and are otherwise slowing down the single CPU that user has today.”

Ilya

On fonts, lists, and weblog structure

Janne’s always-excellent Kuutio has moved. No links are broken, but the old site is still up and there’s no forwarding.

Via Kuutio: Fontleech, a weblog for free fonts, and some recommendations on free fonts that all designers should have, Vera and Libertine. This is a topic that has crossed my mind often, and Janne whistfully says that it’d be nice (if he had time) to upkeep a list of must-have typefaces.

While on the topic of keeping comprehensive lists, I will now meander into a little talk about weblogs, a favorite subject matter of oldtimer-bloggers everywhere.

One of my principles of running a weblog is to collect, in atomic entries, items that could be collected later into a list of resources. While categorization is one way of providing this kind of structure, it generally fails due to the difficulties of using categories in the first place. In my own blogging system I also use a freeform textfield called “topics”, in which is meant to tie entries together by other factors than their topic.

For example, when I was importing old posts into Fathom this, I noticed I had many posts in which I mused about Sunday evenings. Now, Sunday evenings is not something I would give its own category, but it is a topic I had returned to several times, and might do so again. How then, to connect each post without manually linking to each one? Topical keywords.

While I do have a tool that shows me all my existing topical keywords, I decided when I was designing the system that I’d leave the field as open-ended as possible. I hoped it’d allow me to accidentally create unexpected connections and complementary two-way links between entries of superficially irrelevant nature.

My excitement over topical keywords has so far proven unfounded — I have the same problems with keywords as I do with categories. How many keywords should I assign? What should they be based on? Feelings, moods, people, places? General or specific topics? Some of the problems of categorization go away with keywords, but others arise.

Tags have created a big stir lately in blogland. I like the idea. What I would really like to see would be open ontologies to map different tags together. And then I want automatic categorization. CS (that’s computer science, not Counterstrike) gods, do you hear me?

Ilya


Crashes RAMmed away

On par with me not writing here, like, forever, I’ve failed to mention that my computer (which has been acting up and bluescreening daily for a long time) is much better. I was given a brand-new 512MB RAM chip, and after removing the two older chips, everything’s been working almost flawlessly. Knock on wood.

Ilya

Audioscrobbler

I installed Audioscrobbler today. Not sure what to do with it, but still.

Ilya

  • S5 is a XHTML and Javascript based slide-show alternative for Powerpoint. Created by the inimitable Eric Meyer, the man behind CSS Zen Garden.

  • MarsEdit looks like a nice blogging client for OS X. Will keep in mind in case of eventual switch.

  • TweakUI is a small app to fix Windows without messing around with the registry.


Some outliners and Dia

Another list of outliners.

WikidPad looks interesting, and for $12, it’s certainly in my price range. I wonder if the titles of pages are always WikiStyleWords in the outline view? I don’t think I like that.

Skwyrul still seems to be about the best two-panel outliner there is for Windows. It’s small, simple, and has full version you can try.

Dia is an open source diagramming tool. I need to look into some other ones. I’ll put up some links later.

Ilya
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