_archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Give me some E

09/11/08 :: by pwang

It’s TextMate for Windows and it’s new. And you can skip my intro to get it here.

And for those who don’t know what TextMate is, it’s Mac-only text editor that increases a developer’s productivity by folds through many useful features like color-coding, shortcut keys and commands for anything from simple processes like inline editing to large snippets across a majority of programming languages to compiling in a target program (i.e. Flash) through its bundles feature. The general consensus about what makes TextMate awesome is it’s ease of use for newbies and power users alike.

It’s good to see that E follows that standard over on Windows. E keeps bundles, but needs Cygwin (included in the installation package) to use the feature. It also adds remote folder access, but does not seem to have a built-in SVN client. Instead, there is a local version control feature called ‘history’ that saves any files changes. Bundles are easier to manage, but the project management and bundle editing in E feel very different and not in a good way. Luckily, there is a wiki to walk you through most issues.

When I first starting coding websites by hand, I used Dreamweaver. But soon like most other folks I found it lacking a lot of productivity enhancements that other more dedicated text editors (Dreamweaver targets mainly the visual web designer and has a lot of features I don’t need) like Eclipse and Notepad++. The only problem with the latter was it couldn’t deal with all the languages out there with its, last I checked, relatively weak support of languages like ActionScript 3 and Processing, both of which have TM bundles. The ability to save ‘projects’ took me from Smultron on the Mac to TextMate, which like E has a reasonable $40 price tag to register from the trial version. Imagine Photoshop costing only $40 and coming out of the box with 100+ fully-featured actions sets.

Other issues? the Windows keyboard doesn’t allow the same shortcut keys as on a Mac, but that will change too, since there was a lot of work done to ensure bundles worked on the Mac as they did on the PC. All of this for me means that for developing on the PC at home, I can hold off on learning something big like Eclipse.

The biggest thing is we’re seeing an application go from Mac to PC, when it’s more common the other way around. To me this has more impact than when Safari for Windows was released in the pre-Chrome days.

Data Resolution

08/28/08 :: by pwang

I don’t have an iPhone and am unaware of any visual redesigns since this was published, but I think in general this video editorial is applicable in a lot of cases, including its case study for Apple’s general design strategy, where sometimes user-interface design prioritizes looks and associates that with a user-friendly design. Mr. Tufte in this video really sheds light on data resolution, and what it means to be simple while not being sparse. There ought to be no reason that constraints in the medium should affect the level of detail in the message.

DataCase - most useful iPhone app I’ve seen

08/13/08 :: by moquito

Today, an app came out called DataCase that basically makes your iPhone, in effect, a USB key. You can drag and drop files from your Mac or PC to DataCase, which stores the files on your iPhone (all done wirelessly over WiFi). I now keep a copy of my most useful files on my phone, ready to be used wherever I am. TechCrunch posted a detailed review here.

Most iPhone apps have shown to be, well, boring and/or useless. For $6.99, this is an example of a great app that actually saves time. Now, if my iPhone could only recharge itself wirelessly…

We’ve come a long way, baby

08/12/08 :: by Patrick

On this date in 1981, the IBM Personal Computer Model 5150 was unveiled to the world. The CPU was a Intel 8088 clocked at a whopping 4.77 MHz coupled with the bowel-shaking memory of 16 kB - 640 kB. Yes friends, a new era of personal computing had dawned.

Since I was only 7 months old at the time, I don’t remember laying eyes on the Orwellian looking machine for the first time, but I do remember playing Oregon Trail on its successors in grade school. Who could forget shoving 5 1/4 inch diskettes into the tower while fending off bouts of dysentery, angry Indians and grazing buffalo? I sure can’t.