Tomorrow morning I take the Miller Analogy Test (MAT). In preparation, and out of curiosity, I took this “Difficult Analogies Test” it was kind of fun. I got an 18 on it. What about you?
I’ve often wondered if any of Dell’s computer case designers have actually used the USB ports on the front of the computers they designed. Not only are they totally out of sight if your case is sitting on the floor when you lift up that stylish cover on the front, but the ports are also at a strange angle, making it very hard to plug anything in without getting down on the floor and looking up under the panel. Once you finally manage to get something plugged in, wires have to come up and around the front of the panel. Not only that, you almost have to unplug anything that’s plugged into the front of the computer every time you are done because there’s no way to close the cover with anything plugged in and it’s very awkward sticking out. The same thing goes for the CD case. Every time you need to insert or remove a CD you have to open a door on the front of the case. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually own a Dell desktop (I do have a Dell laptop however) but I’m always baffled by this when I have to use one. Maybe someone who owns one could clarify this design decision for me.
is more aimless browsing. Well, Firefox makes it that much easier. Combine RSS bookmarking capabilities with the bookmarks bar and you have new, instant links from techies (mostly) anytime you feel the need to take a short (?) break from productivity and explore the unknown.
Just browse to del.icio.us click the orange RSS link at the bottom of the screen, click subscribe, add the subscription to your Bookmarks Toolbar Folder and presto! Every time you click that tempting little button you’ll be presented with links you’ve never seen but are interested in… it’s guaranteed 100%.
1. Quicksilver – Application launcher/switcher, copies and moves files, global hotkeys, multi-item clipboard, web searching, calculator, dock replacement, the kitchen sink. Free.
2. Desktop Manager – A desktop switcher that’s useful and has cool effects. This application is especially useful when I’m on a computer with only one monitor. Free.
3. Magic Number Machine – A calculator that does enough without doing too much and still manages to look great. This has replaced the default OS X calculator for me. Free.
6. WindowShade X – There wasn’t a whole lot that I liked about OS9, but windoshading was one of the things that impressed me. This app from Unsanity brings back that functionality. Shareware.
7. MenuCalendarClock – A quick calendar that resides in the top bar. I just use the basic functionality so it’s free.
8. ChiliSafe – Customizable secure password manager and generator. Free.
9. Font Sampler – A great way to compare multiple fonts on text you choose at one time. I use this application every time I design anything. Free.
10. Smultron – An excellent text editor with ActionsScript (and many others) syntax highlighting. Free.
That took longer than I though. Ten for today and I’ll add more soon…
This is the mandatory “if-you-still-don’t-have-a-gmail-address-and-want-one” post. Comment with your email address and I’ll send it out tomorrow.
If you don’t get one here, you can always check the gmail’o’matic. Sometimes it seems like there are never invites available, but with patience you’ll get one. I did.
One of the most helpful tricks I’ve learned as a web designer has been to save copies of good designs for future inspiration. I’ve found that the best way to do it is rather than bookmarking the site (only to find it’s been taken down or changed) I take a screenshot of it and make a folder in iPhoto (on the Mac) or Picasa or Adobe Albums (on the PC) and store it there for quick, easy access.
Something that has helped keep me motivated is having good tools to quickly and effortlessly take screenshots. I use:
1. Paparazzi – This program lets you take screen captures of the entire webpage – whether or not it fits on the screen without scrolling. A very simple, useful, well done (free) tool.
2. Freesnap – Another simple, functional (more general usage) screen capture program.
3. Shift + Command + 4 + Space – the OS X shortcut to take a screenshot of just a window.
4. MWSnap – A great, free windows screenshot utility.
Also, since I recently discovered Furl, I’m considering also using that service as a way to save actual HTML copies of sites in a centrally accessible location.
It seems like web based blog tools and tracking sites are popping up daily. I’m curious to see which ones stand the test of time. Here’s a list of some of the most popular sites along with their functions and my predictions for their chances of survival. Many of these sites are still in alpha or beta.
Bloglines – The best online weblog aggregator available. Easily keep up with weblog subscriptions, save clipping and links, publish your own weblog, search weblogs, share your links. Fully featured and if you ask me, in it for the long haul.
PubSub – Subscribe to searches and have them delivered by email or RSS. You can also get a browser sidebar to be updated immediately of changes.Bloglines also allows you subscribe to searches. I imagine PubSub will be around for awhile, but it’s not one of the most useful weblog tools in my opinion.
Technorati – Search for blog content as well as view the popularity rank of blogs by how many sites link to them. Technorati was one of the first weblog tools and remains one of the most popular.
Blogtree – A blog genealogy site. It shows how blogs are related. It’s an interesting novelty, but I don’t think it will stand the test of time.
Daypop – A Technorati / Google like blog/news website search tool. It gives rankings for search terms and weblogs by citations. Overall, I’d say it’s a pretty good service. It’s not unique, but it’s speed and simplicity give it a good chance of sticking around.
Bloogz – Another blog search engine / popularity rating website. They also have an aggregator online, but in testing. It is similar to Bloglines, but with far fewer features-notably no OPML support. The site isn’t too bad but it’s slow and they really should employ some translators, some of the grammar on the site is pretty humorous. I’m not counting on this website standing the test of time either.
Syndic8 – Gathers syndicated feeds, lists and ranks them. Actively encourages non-syndicated sites to syndicate their content. While the design of this website makes it hard to see anything, I doubt they’re going to disappear any time soon. It’s clear they already are making money and that should ensure the longevity of the site. They have what many of these other services seem to lack–a business plan.
Blogstreet – This is a tool to find blogs similar to each other. To be listed they require you post an image similar to the one on the left. I’m not sure about this site, but my first impression is that it’s too close to Technorati, but too strict on entry to survive.
Blogshares – A fantasy stock market for weblogs. By far the most unique site in the list. Play the blogmarket and trade shares based on a which weblogs you feel will gain or lose popularity. I think Blogshares will be around for years to come.
Blizg – A blog index that focuses on metadata. Another blog search engine. This website has motivated me to work on my metadata, but I’m not sure if that’s a good enough reason for me to keep using their site.
Those are a few big ones. There are several others I haven’t included that I’ll add later.
Domains now propagate QUICK! What before could take from 12 to 24 hours now takes 3 minutes. I purchased besttoolforthejob.com this morning and it was live minutes later.
With this improvement and how quickly word travels by weblogs, I’m sure we’ll see tons of sites popping up in response to events almost before they’re done happening. Very cool.
Also… if you’re interested in free .info domains, check dotster.com. They’re giving away 25 free domains per person. I’m not sure what the price will be per year afterwards.
Today I found a couple other interesting bookmark tools:
1. Simpy – This is a lot like del.icio.us but seems a bit more polished and commercial. It has a few extra features, while maintaining most of the features of del.iciou.us.
2. Cocoal.icio.us – A carbon del.iciou.us bookmark viewer that takes advanatge of Apple’s webkit to show webpages within the same window. Pretty cool software, I’d love to be able to select multiple categories as filters (e.g. show only bookmarks that fall under both macintosh and software). Freeware.
So far I’ve found two fairly good, free, password managers for OS X.
1. Pastor – Does the job, not very customizable (read: not customizable at all). Pastor allows you to easily use several databases for different categories of passwords.
2. Chilisafe – Chilisafe allows you to have categories with four customizable fields. It’s currently free, but I’m not counting on it staying that way. Of the two, Chilisafe is definitely more powerful. It even has a built in password generator and great search capabilities.
[update 10/18/04 – added The Vault]
3. The Vault – This is a freeform secure information storage solution. I like how you’re not restricted to the fields that come by default with most password managers. You get full text formatting options and from my quick tests there aren’t any arbitrary limits on the amount of text in the field. Categories might be nice, but for what it does, and the price (free) it’s not bad at all.