Too long !

Wow, almost a year to the day since I posted here, it's been too long.

Over the past year I've mostly been using other services - twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and internal work systems. However they still leave a gap, as they either have restrictions in terms of the size of content (twitter) or in terms of access and therefore visibility. So I plan to start blogging again and structure my use of systems along the following lines:

Facebook - Things to be shared just with friends

LinkedIn and company systems - Work related stuff

This blog - More general things that may be useful to others or others may have helpful comments on.

Twittter - quick short general references and thoughts, replicated here for those who don't follow me.

The only real whole that leaves me is with photos, so I think some investigation is required there. A lot I share with friends on Facebook but there are other groups of people I'd like to share pictures of events with but don't necessarily want to share all of my life with. So I think an additional service is required. I have a Mac and Mobile Me, so that's an option, I've also got a Flickr account, although I don't use it very often. Maybe the new Apple iCloud will be an option. Who know's, I'll blog what I find.

So more posts to come, hopefully before June 2012!


Three Cups of Tea

image346581900.jpgI was lent this book by a friend who thought it may prove interesting as I like to read about climbers and their exploits - he wasn't wrong. Initially I thought I'd give it a go just for something to read but I couldn't put it down.
Greg Mortenson went out to climb K2, failed, and has since dedicated his life to building schools for the people who cared for him coming off the mountain. A truly inspirational story. Everything he done is dedicated to this effort, even the proceeds from the book go towards it.

Definitely recommended.

Three Cups of Tea - Amazon


Chomp - iPhone app

image1581902908.jpgHaving listened the other day to a Mobile Orchard podcast the other day about Chomp I thought I'd give it a try.

Chomp is a review/recomendation app for iPhone apps. You review apps and can either like or dislike them. You also have the option to follow particular reviewers in a Twitter like way. Based on the apps you and those you follow like you get a list of recommendations.

The apps displayed have a link to buy and Chomp get 5% commission from Apple for each sale.

The app is nicely designed and easy to use and I hope in the future will help me spot useful apps among the thousands that are out there.


Mac Apps

For some time I've been meaning to do a summary of the apps I've found on the Mac to replace those previously used on a PC. So here's my first run:

Omnigraffle - open and edit Visio docs. An interesting UI to get used to but does the job and far cheaper than Visio.

Things - the best task management tool I've used in a while. Works well with a 'getting things done' methodology.

MS Office - pauses all the time, frustrating to use, flakey compared to the Windows version, expensive but had to be done for work purposes.

Text Wrangler - easy to use text editor withe syntax highlighting and tabbed multiple files.

iPhoto - brilliant Mac app for photo management.

Caffeine - small, simple but really handy. Click the coffee cup on the menu bar and your Mac doesn't sleep. Ideal for presentations or when discussing what's on screen.

Istat menus - handy way to see what's going on when your Mac slows down.

Gmail - why use a local version when this web one is so easy an full featured.

Truecrypt - easy way to create an encrypt a drive or create a file as a drive for storing info securely.

Steelray - viewer for MS project files. Cheap, quick, no editing but very handy for viewing project files you get emailed from time to time.

Dropbox - brilliant app for sharing files between machines, including iPhones.

That's a start for now, more depth when I get some time.

Abracadabra - magic mouse

In my continuing search to get the best tools for the job I took the plunge and bought a magic mouse.

For years I've used Microsoft mice and been very happy. Most recently the bluetooth version has been my weapon of choice. It's shape meant I could rest my hand on it comfortably all day and it had more buttons than I've ever needed. My one real niggle was the lack of an off switch for when it got chucked in my bag with my laptop.

However that all changed when I got my Macbook Pro - what a machine. How could I ever use a mouse again once I'd used all the gestures on the trackpad? So for the best part of a year I didn't bother but I now spend most of my time working from home I needed a better ergonomic position. A Griffin platform raised the screen to the right height and back to the old trusty MS mouse.

Then along comes the magic mouse - Apple design, glass surface, fingertip touch, some gesture support - had to be done.

Installation seemed to be very simple initially, I just paired it and it worked - partially. The mouse moved, clicking left and right were fine but it wouldn't scroll. So, off to Google I went. Having recently upgraded to Snow Leopard maybe that was it. Ah ha! A driver download on the Apple site better install that. Oh no! Now it doesn't connect at all. Right tome to reboot and see if the time honoured Windows fix works. A reboot however then meant my Bluetooth keyboard didn't work either :(

More Google required. I found a number of things talking about USB windows_server processes but I didn't appear to have one of those. Eventually I settled for delete all pairings and re-pair keyboard and mouse. Happy to say that worked.

My conclusions after a weeks use:
- Nice design
- Love the touch scrolling
- Shame it doesn't do pinch zooming

However my main fault would have to be it's not sensitive enough. Even on max sensitivity I had to stop using a mouse mat because I have to move it too far.

Any chance of a driver update Apple?