Presentation Remote Solved

Instead of forking over over \$30 for a new remote to use for presentations, I found mira a little System Preference pane that lets me map the buttons on my brand new MacBook Pro’s remote to other applications. It took about 45 seconds of fiddling to get forward/back mapped to the up and down arrows and voila, I have a presentation remote.\
I love Mac developers. If I’ve got a problem, there’s usually a beautifully designed easy to use solution already out there.

AIM Pages and Safari

I’ve seen this now a couple places, and figured I’d comment on it (not in an official way, but in a “I feel your pain” way). The current falderal is about AIM Pages and Safari and how it doesn’t work yet. We tried, honest we did. But, Safari has certain “issues” with its DOM support (it’s a standard, ya know) and other javascript features. We did our best to work around them and get things working, but when it came down to crunch time, we had to concentrate on the big two (Firefox and IE). We will support Safari. We’re actually very close, just have a few annoying things to work around and it’ll be done. We love Safari. All us Mac users on the team were really sad that we had to drop it for the first release. But, we had to.\
It actually has very little to do with standards compliance. No modern browser is fully DOM 2 compliant. No modern browser is fully CSS 2.1 compliant. They all have quirks. We’ve found more one-line crash-causing javascript commands working on this project than I can count. We’ve found things to hate in all the browsers.\
I used to think that browsers were in a pretty good place, especially Firefox and Safari. I was wrong. They’re all too slow, too quirky and aren’t reliable enough. They all crash too easily, take too much work to do things the “right” way, and in most cases, it’s actually better to do things the wrong way because that’s the way the browsers “like” it. For example, it’s way faster, takes less code and uses less CPU to use innerHTML than creating DOM nodes and appending them. If the right way’s not the right way, it’s the wrong way. Until the browsers actually reward using the standard, there isn’t much point. The rewards for using semantic and valid markup, and good CSS are well known. There aren’t a lot of rewards right now for using the DOM.\
But, where was I? Oh yeah, Safari… we’re working on it.

Green!! House!! Widget!!!

In other news, the two dashboard widgets I built last year and never got to release are up on the new AOL Greenhouse. When I get some more time, I might build some more. They’re not really polished (remember, I’m not a designer), but they work. If someone wants to give me a swanky design for either, I’d appreciate it. Cindy?

Most-Used Apps Of 2005

Molly did it, so will I. Plus, I need a break from writing about CSS. Why am I writing about CSS? You will know soon enough, my children, soon enough.\
I’m a Mac person. I think everyone who knows me knows this by now. So, it’s not going to surprise anyone that this list is full of Mac applications (and a web app or two).

  • Mail – It’s not sexy, but I get a ton of e-mail. Other than some quirks with the AOL IMAP servers, Apple’s mail app is awesome.
  • Thunderbird – HA! Yes, another e-mail client! I use Thunderbird for all my personal mail (all umpty-billion accounts too). It’s a trooper and handles multiple accounts and the hundred or so filters I have with aplomb.
  • iTunes – It’s on all day, every day I’m at work. I think I might use it even more than e-mail.
  • Safari – I love how snappy it is (most of the time), and how intuitive and slick the tabs are. It’s my browser of choice for actually browsing the web.
  • NetNewsWire – I read a lot of stuff that comes in through feeds, and there’s no better app on any platform for digesting a lot of feeds (442 at last count) quickly. It also does a fine job of grabbing podcasts.
  • Adium – Yes, I work for AOL and I don’t use our own IM client. Adium just kicks too much ass, and our Mac AIM client is too damn old. Adium does everything, and like NetNewsWire, is the best IM client on any platform, hands down.
  • Firefox – Yes, like my e-mail, I’m a two browser guy. For developing, there’s nothing better than Firefox. Between the javascript console and the web developer toolbar, it’s the best way to get my job done.
  • A tie between Oxygen and BBEdit – I use BBedit for quick and dirty hacking, and editing non-markup code like CSS, PHP, Tcl, JSP or Ruby. I’ve switched to using Oxygen almost exclusively for writing markup. It has just amazing tools for writing markup, from in-place validation to code completion to attribute auto-complete, which is really nice. BBEdit was definitely the winner early in the year, but Oxygen has come on strong late.
  • Transmit – Best FTP client ever, even better than WS_FTP Pro.
  • Movable Type – Yeah, I use my blog a lot, even though you don’t see it all the time. I prototype a lot of stuff in MT that I would normally write from scratch. I just love the template tags.
  • Instiki – I use it almost exclusively for presentations (with my s5 hack, but considering I’ve given over forty of those this year, I think it deserves a spot on the list.\
    There you go. That’s pretty much in usage order. I consume a lot of media…

iPod Virgin

I’ve come into some “free money” and I’ve decided to blow it on a sexy black video iPod. Oh, dear internet, what accessories should I get? How should I protect my new toy? What should I definitely NOT get?\
Thank you and good night.\
UPDATE: My iPod shipped this morning less than 18 hours after I ordered it! Come on, you sexy beast, come on!!

AOL Does Something Cool For OS X

It’s been a rough ride for Mac AOL users (and employees). Ever since the corrupted online database bug in AOL 2.7, we’ve been stuck in the back seat of the AOL van. No longer! We now have a better Radio client than our Windows brethren!! It’s in beta now, but doesn’t feel beta. And this isn’t because I work for ’em. I only pimp the good stuff. It’s got XM Radio stations, lots of cool independent radio, and other AOL programmed stuff (that’s not bad at all).\
It’s fun for me to see my company pay attention to Mac stuff, and produce something that I’ll not only use, but is truly cool.

Safari, Javascript and Large Numbers

Let’s say you’re playing with a dashboard widget that deals with some large numbers you might want to compare. For some reason, you’re not getting the result that you thought you would. For some reason really large numbers are breaking your if statements. Well, if you wanted them not to, you might want to wrap those numbers in Number() in the comparison. That seemed to work for me (yes, I really hope you’ll get to see this widget soon – it’s fun).\
UPDATE: Apparently, I’m on crack because the above bug I mentioned apparently doesn’t exist. I was trying to prove it with some test cases, and I can’t recreate it, even with REALLY large numbers expressed as strings. So… ummm… sorry.

Must-Have Apps for OS X

Since Steve just got himself a shiny new Powerbook, and asked for a list of apps he should throw on it, I decided to blog the list. Here is my “must-have” list of apps for OS X (unless otherwise noted, everything is either freeware or open source):

  • Adium – multi-service IM client. Themes, plugins, icon sets – everything you could ever want to customize your IM experience (and it’s faster than AIM).
  • Azureus – Best torrent client for OS X, even if it is Java.
  • BBEdit – If you can’t afford BBEdit, you can download TextWrangler for free. not free
  • BookIt – Keep your bookmarks synced up across all the browsers you’ve got installed on your machine. not free
  • Chicken of the VNC – Nothing else needs to be said. It is the chicken of the VNC world – light on the calories, long on possibilities.
  • Conversation – My favorite IRC client for OS X.
  • Instiki – Best wiki out there, period, especially on OS X.
  • MarsEdit – For to be editing your blog. not free
  • NetNewsWire – Best newsreader on any platform. Pay for it, because it’s friggin’ worth it (and so you can use the beta). not free (although there is NNW Lite)
  • NVu – I use it as a word processor when I don’t feel like writing documentation in HTML or on my wiki (you know, when you have to use an existing template). HTML editing goodness that just keeps getting better.
  • OmniOutliner – Why don’t other platforms have decent outlining software? Before Instiki, I couldn’t live without OmniOutliner. Even now, it’s great for brainstorming, taking notes during meetings, and making lists. not free
  • OnyX – A must-have for Powerbooks; OnyX runs all those BSD maintenance scripts that are supposed to run at 3 A.M., but never do because your laptop is sleeping.
  • SubEthaEdit – The first and best collaborative text editors. Great for taking notes at conferences, in meetings (with other people smart enough to have Powerbooks and bring them to meetings), etc. semi-not free
  • Tigerlaunch – Nice little menu item that has all your applications in it. Great when you don’t have something in your dock, but need to start it up.
  • Transmit – A great FTP Client with right-click editing of text files in your favorite text editor. Very cool. not free (check out Fugu or Cyberduck if you’re a cheap bastard).
  • VLC – For watching all the TV shows you download with Azureus. It plays everything, and plays it well.\
    There you have it (and I can’t believe I kept it alphabetical). I didn’t include stuff that should have come with the machine, like iPhoto (even though it’s amazing) or Safari. Am I missing anything?