The Ahimsa WordPress theme and Firefox 3.6
January 28th, 2010 by ravi

Firefox 3.6 is out and unfortunately it has unveiled a slew of small annoyances in the Ahimsa theme caused either by the browser or more likely by wrong assumptions in styling in the theme. I am running through the issues right now and expect to have a fixed release of the theme out in under two weeks.

This version will also have support for a right sidebar, and a few other interesting new features. If you have things you have wanted in the theme, now’s the time to ask!

BumpTop and UI paradigms
January 22nd, 2010 by ravi

BumpTop is a 3D desktop manager for Windows and Mac with some slick features and fairly well done OS integration. I have been using it for a few days now and it is impressive if not indispensable. The reason for this post however is to comment on something that John Gruber wrote about this app:

And the 3D stuff, with a weird perspective on “walls”, just seems silly.

I can see how he may find it silly, but in my usage I found the walls quite a useful feature, psychologically speaking. Despite the large collection of useful widgets on my Mac OS Dashboard, I rarely bring up the Dashboard to access the information or operation that these widgets provide.

Why not? Apart from the fact that the Dashboard takes forever to update, somehow, bringing up the Dashboard, visually an overlay on my desktop, seems to neither fit into my workflow nor appeal to my instinctive usage patterns.

On the other hand, in the few days I have been using BumpTop (intermittently), the ability to create sticky notes on a wall (admittedly, a particular application, and not a replacement for the Dashboard) has resonated well with my impulses… to look for a note on a wall seems, well, just the right thing to do!

It helps that BumpTop causes no increase in CPU utilisation on a quiescent system or when I working primarily within one application.

I am not sure if I will stop using Qu-S and keep using BumpTop, but it would be interesting to know what those who study UI/UX design think about the ideal way to present informational widgets and tiny apps.

links for 2010-01-21
January 21st, 2010 by ravi

The big browser that couldn’t
January 18th, 2010 by ravi

Anyone who ever had to write a bit of HTML, CSS or JavaScript usually employs a therapist or anger management expert to help deal with the stress of having to deal with Internet Explorer. Now, thanks to its other celebrated feature, to wit it’s generosity towards malware and viruses, some European governments might be helping out:

France and Germany warned against using IE6, 7 and 8 France has echoed calls by the German government for web users to find an alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) to protect security.

[ link: BBC News – France joins Germany warning against Internet Explorer ]

The iPhone is a Mac app killer
January 15th, 2010 by ravi

Doseido, makers of Headline have announced that they have something new on the way. Hope is low that it’s a new version of Headline that fixes some of its minor annoyances. Why? Because if you are a Mac app developer, you know which side your bread is buttered these days. (The answer, if you are not an iPhone developer: it’s the iPhone side. When’s the last time Tweetie updated their Mac app?)

No Logo
January 13th, 2010 by ravi

So I am just some schlub with a Toucan for a logo, but people with venture funding (and even profits in the case of some) should be able to do better than this screenshot I picked off of PixelPipe (a service whose purpose I shall discover very soon, I am certain):

I left Tumblr and WordPress in to give some relief to your eyes.

Detail and survival
January 12th, 2010 by ravi

From John Gruber today, a quote from MG Siegler on the superiority of the iPhone:

MG Siegler on the Nexus One MG Siegler: Perhaps the single biggest reason that I like Apple products, and their software, in particular, is the attention to detail the company puts in. In my mind, that’s exactly what still separates the iPhone from all the Android phones. It’s the little things. The things that are almost too small for you to even notice, but which make the experience subtly better.

Which is all fine, but it seems to me that history (even Apple’s own) has demonstrated that design, “attention to detail”, and so on have rarely fared well against buzz, FUD, user entrapment, collusion and other tactics (different subsets of which are the advantages enjoyed by Apple’s two primary competitors: Microsoft and Google). The difference in the “smartphone” market is, of course, that Apple for once is the most successful and advanced device, but let us see how this pans out three years from now.

[ link: Daring Fireball Linked List: MG Siegler on the Nexus One ]

Screenshots: Response Tracker 0.90
January 5th, 2010 by ravi

Some screenshots of the WordPress plugin Response Tracker

Response Tracker 0.90

MagicPrefs: The Magic Mouse Pref Pane that Apple forgot
January 4th, 2010 by ravi

If you recently got a Magic Mouse either because it came with your new Mac or because you got excited by the hype and bought one, only to find that the dratted thing is missing the third and fourth buttons which you had so cleverly bound to Expose and Spaces, there is good news. A free application calledMagicPrefs lets you not only add this functionality to the Magic Mouse but lets you define gestures and perform other kinky mods that should be worth a lot more than the millions that Apple paid to acquire Lala.

UPDATE: TUAW has a pointer to another free tool called BetterTouchTool.

»  Substance: WordPress  »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa