Archives For Software

Via the LATimes Blogs,

Computer-book publishing magnate Tim O’Reilly is urging young geeks to stop making software that lets you throw sheep at your friends on Facebook or drink beer on your iPhone and to instead start making a difference in the world. He is daring them, in the words of James Collins and Jerry Porras, authors of the business classic “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies,” to take on “big, hairy, audacious goals.”

The post goes on to quote from an LATimes article

O’Reilly argues that Silicon Valley has strayed from the passion and idealism that fuel innovation to instead follow what he calls the “mad pursuit of the buck with stupider and stupider ideas.”

Flush with money and opportunity following the post-dot-com resurgence, he says, some entrepreneurs have cocooned in a “reality bubble,” insulated from poverty, disease, global warming and other problems that are gripping the planet. He argues that they should follow the model of some of the world’s most successful technology companies, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which sprang from their founders’ efforts to “work on stuff that matters.”

Perhaps the church could listen to this as well. And rather than creating locations in Second Life and software to measure church metrics (Good Grief!), we could take that expertise and focus on dealing with some real issues that impact the planet.

I live in shock realizing that Western Christians are praying that the Lord will bless falling markets whilst we have continued to ignore the plight of the rest of the world. We build bigger and bigger buildings to serve our supposed needs, whilst thousands of children die daily for lack of clean water and simple meds. We ask God to bless the $700 Billion dollar buyout – while a fraction of that amount would solve the drinking water issues in much of Africa.

The late Keith Green echoes in my head, “Bless Me, Lord, Bless Me, Lord. That’s all I ever hear!”

UPDATE: I’m so sorry. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so harsh if I’d read Al Mohler who says,[via]

The free market is not perfect, but capitalism has brought more wealth to more people than any other system. It rewards investment, labor, and thrift and rises on innovation. Better ideas and better products push out inferior ideas and inferior products. Given the reality of human sin, we should not centralize economic control in the hands of the few, but distribute economic power to the many. A free market economy distributes power to multitudes of workers, inventors, investors, and consumers.

No economy is perfect, but the American economy remains a marvel. The present crisis is an opportunity to rethink some basic questions and restore trust. There are no easy ways out of a crisis like this, and no painless solutions. Yet, would you trade this system for any other?

And, in case you were wondering, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Screen capture utilities have been important in the work I do for a rather long time. I won’t bore you with why. Suffice to say that I use them almost daily.

When most of my life was spent on PCeees, I used TechSmith’s products SnagIt and Camtasia. On the Mac, Ambrosia Software’s Snapz Pro X was my weapon of choice.

Skitchheart A month ago, I began using Skitch from the very smart people at Plasq who also brought us the fun and very usable ComicLife. I’m a Skitch addict. I’ve used it about four times today alone.

Jing I’ve just discovered that TechSmith has a similar (yet different) screen cap program with some great video sharing capabilities. [via] It’s called Jing – and it’s available for Mac or PC as a free download (whilst in Beta, I assume). Both Skitch and Jing are loaded on my Mac Pro. We will see which gets the most screen time, as it were. (I would rather that Jing not add a widget to my screen, but…)

Just capturing the Jing logo (with Jing) and the Skitch heart (with Skitch), I can already tell you that I prefer Skitch’s file handling for saving on my computer. Though Jing does have more saving/sharing options – its just not as elegant. And the Skitch interface is much more attractive.


Engadget reports that the OLPC offer I mentioned yesterday has now be extended ’til the end of the year. Read more about it here. From the best gadget blog:

The deal buys both yourself (or rather, your kid supposedly) and a tot from a developing nation new XOs for just $399. Already, the non-profit claims to be pulling in about $2 Million worth of "donations" each day. They’ve also opened up bulk buying to schools in quantities of 100-999 ($299 each), 1000-9999 ($249 each), or 10,000 and more ($199). Oh, and the program is now officially renamed "Give One, Get One" (GoGo)

Lost in Translation, Please?

kinnon —  November 10, 2007 — Leave a comment

Update: A note to my critics (the female members of my immediate family), according to this test, this blog scores 68.63 on the Flesch Reading Ease scale ("Authors are encouraged to aim for a score of approximately 60 to 70"), and 9.04 in the Gunning Fog Index which approaches Time and Newsweek in complexity and is in the range where most popular novels sit.

My daughter and wife, who have had many years of experience interpreting my convoluted attempts at communicating, repeatedly tell me that I write convoluted blog posts. Guilty as charged.

But just think of how many more people I could confuse if my blog was available in other languages. Say, Italian.

The code snipped below code that’s been removed as it seems to be screwing up Firefox from the good folks @ the Microsoft Machine Translation team will help would help more people become confused ae readers. How cool is that!? If it worked.

Note: You may need to go to the Live Translator page to change the language – as the drop down doesn’t seem to want to work in the post field of this blog, at least in Firefox. The drop down works fine in Safari 3.04, and I’m guessing it will work in Internet Explorer as well – though I have no way of checking that. (Safari does mess up the Translation page, however, which Firefox appears to display correctly.)

Meet Sandy, My New Assistant

kinnon —  November 1, 2007 — 3 Comments

Sandypa I’ve always wanted a person Friday (well, actually, I used to have one years ago) and now I have one (again). Her name’s Sandy. Some of you might find her a tad cartoonish, but I like the way she works. And the great thing is…she’ll work for you to.

I stumbled across Sandy’s availability while reading Scoble’s link blog yesterday but wasn’t sure how well she’d work for me. Especially as she might end up displacing Remember the Milk. But with each task I give her, I’m getting more convinced of her usefulness.

Check Sandy out. See if she’ll work for you. A couple of emails back and forth and the two of you could be in for a beautiful relationship.

What, Facebook Worry?

kinnon —  October 31, 2007 — 3 Comments

Last week Facebook got a little more deeply into bed with the rich, but dorky kid from Redmond. The PR hasn’t been the best for them.

Tomorrow (November 1), Google launches OpenSocial. As O’Reilly Radar’s Brady Forrest says, it’s “a new open API for social networks. The new standard will allow developers to create Facebook-like apps on any social network site that implements it with the same calls.” Scoble asks, “Will Google “Friendster” Facebook?” And adds, “(Facebook) are about to meet their biggest competition yet.”

There are a lot of partners jumping on the OpenSocial bandwagon as TechCrunch notes, “Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle” and developers that “include Flixster, iLike, RockYou and Slide.” Arrington comments, “The timing of OpenSocial couldn’t be better.”

The kid from Redmond just might not think so. And that supposed 15 billion dollar Facebook valuation? It may have dropped by a billion or three.

UPDATE: Arrington comments today (Nov 1),

Google may have just come out of nowhere and checkmated Facebook in the social networking power struggle.

MySpace and Six Apart will announce that they are joining Google’s OpenSocial initiative. Silicon Alley Insider reported the MySpace rumor earlier today. We’ve confirmed that from an independent source, as well as the fact that Six Apart is joining. Per the update below, Google has also confirmed Bebo is joining.

I stumbled across this great software today on Planet Intertwingly, from Brian’s Waste of Time.

Skim-Pdf Reader

Skim allows you to annotate pdf’s with notes and rectangles/circles. I’m very impressed and will probably switch from Mac’s Reader to Skim as my standard pdf reader. (Haven’t used Adobe Acrobat in years.)

Download it here.

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The iMonk in a BHT post just made me aware that Google Desktop is finally available for Macs. I’ve already got it indexing my drives. Michael links to theappleblog for more informaton on the desktop product. Check it out.

UPDATE: I’ve been using it for a couple of days and its speed is blowing my mind. Double click the Apple key, it launches and the results appear as fast as I type. (I am running a Mac Pro.)

I’m a 37signals fan. Talk about them way too often. But their book, Getting Real came to mind in the minor blog storm about the new Adobe icons. My initial response to the new icons was negative. I was wrong – and so is the Scoble Bunny for that manner. They are clean and they just work.

I’ve got about 40 icons in my Dock. The new Photoshop CS3 Icon is the cleanest and clearest. It may not be as beautiful as the old but it does make for fast access. And in this case, I’ll go for speed and clarity over visual masturbation. (“We don’t need no stinkin’ icon graphics, we got letters…”)

Adobe Icons

From my dock: Illustrator CS2, Photoshop CS3, Ps CS2 & After Effects 7. (Note I use dock magnification.) Which do you think is the clearest at a glance?

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Mac Pro: Take Two

kinnon —  November 11, 2006 — Leave a comment

The switch over to the Mac Pro was not as seamless as I had originally thought…or hoped.

I did the transfer from my previous Mac to the Mac Pro – which took a couple of hours. And at first, everything seemed great. Every piece of software I opened seemed to work fine. Until I hit After Effects*. Along with Final Cut Studio and Photoshop, After Effects is the most important piece of software on the Mac Pro.

I spent the next four hours trying to solve the problem. (It appeared to be an OpenGL 3D conflict.) I searched Google for answers. And found a bunch. The only one that helped was the one I began yesterday morning, and the one that consumed my day. I reformatted the hard drive and started from scratch. And this meant looking for software and finding all but Photoshop CS2, an Adobe download from earlier in the year. I thought I’d have to do the “wait on the phone for an hour” routine to speak to someone to sort it out. Instead, I used Adobe’s online chat system, and 12 minutes later was downloading my software.

I popped out in the afternoon to grab three 500Gb Western Digital SATA Drives to mount in the Mac Pro’s removable drive slots. (I then spent half an hour looking for a Philips screwdriver, which turned out to be right beside my desk – most of my tools are in storage or at the cottage.) This process was significantly simpler than I’d expected. It took about five minutes to attach the drives to the caddies and install them into the Mac Pro. And five minutes later I had a 1.4TB RAID1 video drive available on my desktop. Using the AJA Kona System Test (which works without AJA hardware), the drives appear fast enough to handle DVCProHD footage.

What shocks me is that I spent $700 CDN to create a 1.4 Terrabyte RAID. This from someone whose first non-linear editing system featured 18 gigs of SCSI storage that cost the company $9,000 – and that’s just over a decade ago. (TigerDirect has the WD5000KS 500Gb drives for under $200USD, each and I found them for $177USD yesterday elsewhere.)

Not every piece of software that I want on the Mac Pro has been added yet. And I need to contact the good people at Roxio and Particle Illusion to download new versions of their software (I can’t find those backups as it turns out), but I’m impressed with the speed and flexibility of the new Mac Pro. And looking forward to editing my brains out in the next couple of weeks.

UPDATE: *Here’s a link to a good article on making After Effects run smoothly on a Mac Pro.

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