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Member Since: 24 Jan 2010
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Andrew Scott's Posts
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on 29 May 2012
Recently I've been wondering if I should retire Typinator. OS X Lion now has it's own text expansion engine built in (System Preferences → Language & Text → Text) and after creating a lean Lion install at work I placed my most essential expansions in the (email addresses, name, etc.).
Typinator 5.1 introduces "interactive input fields". As far as I'm concerned this is a revolution in text expansion. I'm sure such things have been possible in the past through AppleScript or other methods but those were always beyond my abilities (or time to learn). Interactive input fields are much more approachable for me. Within minutes of experimenting with it I can think of numerous ways that Typinator is going to enhance how I use my Mac.
The other thing that keep me using Typinator is DropBox sync so all my Macs use the latest versions of my expansions.
The only thing I fault Ergonis for is that when they introduce new features they don't make it easy to learn about them. Typinator deserves a much more extensive tutorial or guide on the website. Currently the FAQ and tips pages explain a paltry subset of what the software can do. Learning how to use the new interactive expansion feature is an example. Their latest email bulletin gives a few clues on how it works but it's up to the user to learn by experiment.
Come on, Ergonis! Make it easier for people to get the most from this great app.
on 31 May 2012
Thanks for the Download Extras tip, sjk and Ergonis. Useful content though it's pitched at quite a technical audience.
on 21 Sep 2011
I am quite unimpressed with this developers update approach.
I bought LockScreen when it came out and stopped using it after only a week or two. It was unreliable when trying to unlock, sometimes failing to recognise the pass pattern.
Now I see there is a new version in the Mac App Store but no upgrade path. In fact "LockScreen" is no longer available and there is a 'new' app called "LockScreen 2". Sure, it's only a couple of bucks but it's also been a scant three months since the first version that, in my experience, didn't work properly.
on 24 Mar 2011
I discovered Bean when I started using CopyPaste Pro—it's included for editing text clippings but is hidden away in the app's bundle. The latest version is unbelievably slick and useful and I love the new interface. Ideal for quick writing jobs but I'm finding I use it more and more for other things too.
I guess it can't stay free forever but that's OK because it's definitely worth paying for.
on 21 Jul 2010
This looks very promising. After taking on a new roll at work I'm seeing my email traffic increase markedly. Rocketbox looks like it'll make my email more manageable.
However first impressions are that it could do with some interface improvements. The developers website shows some of its powerful advanced search abilities yet there is no obvious way to discover these from within the software. In fact there's no Help feature in Rocketbox at all nor a link to the website. Surely it would be a simple matter to add a "cheat sheet" of search terms.
It would also be nice to be able to check the version number or check for updates from within the software. A panel in Mails preferences would seem to be a good way of achieving many of these things.
Finally, presentation of search results could be more efficient. Rocketbox often shows multiple hits for the same message as well as content duplicated in quoted text across discussion threads. Abbreviated headers are shown but without date and time. Adding this information would help a great deal. Allowing search results to be threaded might be even better. Perhaps offering three sort results instead of two would be one way of doing this: Relevance, Date, Thread.
on 23 Feb 2010
Finally! What Things users everywhere have been waiting for:
- Improved validation of license codes.
on 13 Nov 2009
It's the time of year where I need to record examples of my student's work for my records. I take lots of pictures of large format work while it's pinned up for presentation. Later comes the tedious task of processing it in Photoshop: removing any perspective distortion, lens distortion, image rotation and uneven lighting. This time around I'm giving my newly licensed copy of Prizmo a workout to do this. Here is what I've found:
Prizmo makes short work of removing perspective and lens distortion. I can get through a lot more images in a lot less time, which I'm pretty happy with. This means I can compile more examples of work to show to next year's students as well as build up our file of exemplars for exhibition and web display purposes. Excellent.
I've also discovered a significant bug in the software. The first step after importing an image is to click the four corners of the region you want cropped and straightened. Prizmo excels at this operation but for one occasional crucial bug: the processed image sometimes has it's left and bottom edges cut off. At other times it's one of the other corners. This means I must manually adjust three of the four corners to compensate, introducing much trial and error and reducing the effectiveness of the radial distortion controls. When it behaves like this it's frustrating and makes Prizmo a one-trick Pony that doesn't do its trick very well-and it's a fairly expensive pony at that. When it works as it should it's a dream.
There are a few rough edges in the software that really should have been caught before release. The most embarrassing one is in the “image” slip that allows adjustment of brightness and contrast, etc.. There are three checkboxes, “Binarize”, “Invert” and “Homogenize”. Hover the mouse over any of them reveals a “tool tip” stating:
“Convert the image to black and white (dual tone without gray shades), potentially increasing outline accuracy”
It seems to me that this is a simple duplication of the tip for “Binarize”. There is no unique tip for Invert, which doesn't need one, and Homogenize, which desperately does. The manual states that homogenize is there to “smooth the output image luminosity”, which is a great feature for smoothing out uneven illumination on the original image though in practice it's a bit fiddly to get right. You need to play with the brightness and contract sliders to get a reasonable image with Homogenize activated. It also seems to make the image quite noisy.
On the topic of sliders they aren't large, which means you can see your image while working with them, but that makes them difficult to use accurately. Prizmo should take a tip from applications like Apple's Apeture (but not iPhoto) that allow multiple interactions with sliders: clicking and dragging on the slider for gross adjustment, clicking on arrows for fine adjustment, and direct display and editing of numerical values. Once you have the values the way you want them Prizmo will let you save them as a preset, which is very useful.
Image sizing and proportions can be quite hit and miss. Prizmo does a great job of guessing proportions most of the time and toggling the state of the “Automatic Sizing” checkbox seems to do the job. There are some custom size presets that are potentially very useful however the metric paper size presets, A5, A4 and A3, and perhaps the others for that matter (I never use them), clearly expect the image to be a portrait format document. Using them distorts any landscape images into portrait formats. There is not way of saving size presets so I can't even manually enter the sizes for portrait A4, A3 and A2 the way I'd like to. This is something that needs fixing.
When you're working on a whole batch of images Prizmo lacks an obvious way of working on a new image. The easiest way is to just drag and drop one onto the work area using Finder but this inherits the settings from the previous image. Using the File > Open Image… command produces the same result. There is no large dropzone like the one you get when you first launch the application.
Finally, when working on an image you'll probably want to see the preview larger to check your progress. There's a small disclosure triangle in the bottom left that does this but you can't zoom in on the preview and it doesn't fill the window. Inexplicably the preview corners are rounded although not the exported image thankfully. It would be useful to be able to view a larger preview image side-by-side with the original while you're working.
Overall I'm glad I bought a license for Prizmo. I did this despite knowing that it's not quite complete and is quite overpriced compared to most Mac software because I'd like to see it improve and the developers have already shown themselves to be responsive. I'll be watching this space.
on 10 May 2009
I don't think I've touched SuperDuper! since Time Machine was released. Time Machine saved my bacon when our old PowerBook died unexpectedly and it's great to have however I've realised it's not good to rely on just one backup mechanism. I've just re-started using SuperDuper! alongside Time Machine and what a pleasure it is to use. It's been a reliable safety net in the past and I'm glad to be using it again.
on 29 Apr 2009
I was excited to see this application and keen to try it out. Periodically I need to record drawings and images larger than my scanner and this promises to make short work of tidying up the camera images. It seems to do a good job of of taking distorted images and producing clear, straight outputs. However it's clear that Prizmo is still developing and it has many rough edges and opportunities for improvement:
- The zoom view slider appears below the output image but affects the viewing size of the original image. Why not position it below the image it controls just like iPhoto?
- Adjusting the output image proportions is very hit-and-miss. There are no visual indicator of proportion or ratio while you're dragging other than guesswork. It would be very useful to have a visual indicator of ratio while dragging, perhaps showing when common ratios are established, such as square, golden rectangle, metric paper sizes (eg. A4), letter size, etc.. user definable ratios would be even better. The Page Options Pane suggest some control over output proportion is possible but seems buggy, sometimes generating width and height values such as “5.018e+04”
- The grid placed over the original image is useful but the blue outer border is too bold and obscures the edges of the object you're trying to frame. This makes it difficult to achieve accuracy with out a lot of trial and error. Perimeter grid lines should be adjustable in thickness or possible to replace with corner or trim lines only to facilitate precision. You can adjust the colour of the grid lines but not transparency so that's of little help.
- The Image Processing Pane allows some control over the exposure values in the photograph which is good. In ideal situations you'll be able to use the resulting image without modification. Unfortunately it lacks a white point control, meaning more trial and error adjustment is necessary. Also many images are taken in less than even lighting circumstances. It would be good to be able to adjust levels across the image over a gradient, defined by the user. This would help eliminate dark corners or edges and avoid hot spots. Without this control it's necessary to process the image again in Photoshop-which raises the question, “why not use Photoshop for the whole process?”
- Sometimes saved output is just a blank document for no apparent reason.
In summary, Prizmo is very promising but also unfinished and costly for its features. At US$10 I'd buy it as is and make do with it's rough edges and idiosyncrasies but at US$40 I'll just have to wait to see if it gets a lot smoother and more powerful before I jump in. I wish the developer well and await developments with some anticipation.
on 21 Sep 2009
I'm very impressed with Prizmo 1.1. I haven't had the opportunity to test it properly but it looks much improved. I'll revise my review when I've done so.
on 16 Apr 2009
This is my favourite Twitter widget and I've tried quite a few. It's responsive and easy to use. My one complaint is that I can't resize the window to see a lot more tweets at once but apart from that it's pretty good.
on 16 Apr 2009
Airmailr v 0.3 seems to work just fine on my MacBook Air (under 10.5.6). I like the way you can resize the window to see more Tweets (unique in Dashboard Twitter clients my experience). The interface is a little rough though:
- Tweets jitter as you mouse over them
- interface elements are a bit crude, for example "x" characters for close buttons
- it's slow to respond when you open the Dashboard. It seems like every other widget is updating before this one becomes responsive
- avatar images are way too small
Despite this niggles I quite like it. It's early days so hopefully it'll lose those rough edges.
on 23 May 2011
Version 3.1 is now available. In-app update seems to fail after downloading and prior to installation but downloading 3.1 directly from the developer's site seems to work fine.
GReat app, by the way.
on 31 Jan 2009
Does anyone know if it's possible to get this version working with iPhone 8.0?
on 16 Nov 2008
Sadly Keywurl seems to conflict with Safari 3.2.
What a pity, I really miss it.
on 17 Dec 2008
That's interesting. I just installed it again and got this error when I launched Safari:
"Safari 3.2.1 (v5525.27.1) has not been tested with the plugin Keywurl (null) (v1.3.5). As a precaution, it has not been loaded. Please contact the plugin developer (not the SIMBL author) for further information."
on 17 Dec 2008
Oops! Strike that. I made the mistake of downloading the earlier version from the developers site ("download and install" gives you the earlier, non-beta version, not 1.4b2). I should have looked more carefully.
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! It's great to have Keywurl back.
on 05 Oct 2006
I seem to be having a problem with the 1.3.1 disk image: "mounting failed" and "device not configured".
on 05 Oct 2006
Third time was the charm: the disk image opened fine this time. For the record I'm using 10.4.8.
on 19 Aug 2006
I couldn't get this to work with iCal 2.0.3 and OS 10.4.7 on my PowerBook G4.
"Can't continue «event wrbraec4»."
on 19 Aug 2006
I couldn't get this to launch under OS 10.4.7, PowerBook G4.
on 28 Aug 2006
I am happy to report that BDayz does indeed work perfectly on my PowerBook. The developer contacted me and helped me understand what is quite clearly explained in the Read Me file. :)
When you launch BDayz it will appear in the Dock for a moment and then disappear unless there is a birthday recorded in one of your Address Book entries for today. It's useful if you place it in your Startup Items and tend to boot up your Mac every morning.
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