Tag Archives: Applications

FinderPath Extension for Alfred

I use Alfred for all of my application launching, number calculating and folder-finding needs. It usually does a good job at finding what I’m looking for, though sometimes you already have an exact file path in mind and want to jump right to it. One example is the Library folder. I find myself digging around in there regularly for whatever reason (retrieving Minecraft screenshots, diagnosing crashy apps, etc.) and it just takes too long to get there manually. Lion and Mountain Lion made it especially vexing, as it’s hidden by default. (And it re-hidden after each software update, even if you change the setting with a terminal command.)

So I made an Alfred extension that will open any supplied path in a new Finder window. No fancy searching, just a direct “open this.” It uses the standard “cd ~/Documents/GitHub” syntax experienced users of the command line will be familiar with. It even escapes spaces automatically.

Installation Instructions

  • Download the FinderPath extension
  • Unzip the archive and double-click the resulting FinderPath.alfredextension file
  • Alfred should do the rest

New Bookmarklet for Twitter for Mac

Back when I first started using Tweetie for Mac, I put together a modified version of the default bookmarklet available on the developer’s website. With a single click I could send the URL and page title of the current page in my web browser to Tweetie and hit send. Easy and efficient.

When Twitter for Mac came out, that bookmarklet stopped working, sadly. I managed to get it to send the URL after a little tinkering, but I couldn’t get it to work with the page title for some reason.

Fortunately, an enterprising Twitter user has written a new bookmarklet that works like my old one did. You can install it by going to this page and dragging it to your bookmarks bar.

If that wasn’t cool enough, it turns out you can select some text in any native Cocoa application, right-click it and select “Tweet” to send it over to the Twitter app. It won’t work with Firefox, though, as it’s Services-impaired.

Mac App Store Launches…Along With Tweetie 2 for Mac

Apple just launched the Mac App Store yesterday, bringing with it a welcome surprise. The much-awaited Tweetie 2 for Mac is finally available, in the App Store, under the new name of Twitter for Mac. I’ll get to that in a little bit, though. Let’s take a quick look at this App Store that everyone has either been impatiently waiting for or relentlessly fear-mongering about.

There it is. The Mac App Store has launched with a good selection of applications, and their prices range from free to reasonably priced to, on occasion, absolutely bizarre. There are plenty of wonderful free apps, such as Evernote, TextWrangler, Caffeine, StuffIt Expander, and Twitter. There are hit games like Angry Birds and Bejeweled 3.

Here’s the strange thing: LEGO Harry Potter the Videogame (from the same folks who made the fun LEGO Star Wars games) is available in the App Store for a whopping $49.99. Meanwhile, you can get it for Windows XP for about $20 on a disc. They’re charging about twice as much for a fully digital version. I don’t quite follow that logic.

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Infinity Blade iPhone Game Sells $1.6 Million in Five Days

Just last week the much-anticipated Infinity Blade iPhone game from Epic Games was released. The first to use the new iOS port of the Unreal Engine, it’s stunning graphics have been a major selling point for the game.

The big news is just how amazingly successful the game has been thus far. In its first five days, it earned a stunning $1.64 million. Quite an achievement, breaking Cut the Rope’s record of $1 million in its first ten days to boot.

At $5.99 per copy, the sword-fighting app will thus have mustered over $1.64 million in sales for publisher Epic, whose studio Chair Entertainment created what is widely-hailed as one of the most technically impressive iOS titles to date.

According to GamesIndustry.biz, at least 274,000 copies of the app were sold to produce that figure.

This really shows how viable a platform iOS and the App Store are. There is a lot of money to be made, and the barrier for entry is very low in comparison to most other gaming platforms. At last, indie developers are finally on a fairly even playing field with the larger game companies.

BuySellAds Now Offering iOS Ad Framework

BuySellAds, the ad marketplace popular among internet and computer blogs, recently released a Cocoa framework for displaying ad zones in OS X applications. In a not unexpected, but certainly intriguing, turn of events, they have now released a version of the framework for iOS.

Yes, that means BuySellAds is coming to the iPhone and iPad. Think about that for a minute.

There are now three major ad networks available for app developers to use in their products. Apple’s own iAd, with it’s fun and user-friendly interactive mini applications; Google’s AdMob banners; and now BuySellAds. The big difference between BuySellAds and the other two is that you get final approval before an ad is displayed in your application. Also, the advertisers pay a fixed amount to run their banner for a specific stretch of time, while Apple’s and Google’s offerings cycle different banners in using an automated targeting algorithm.

Choice is good, and some developers will definitely benefit from having BuySellAds as an option.

Why Are People So Irrational About the Price of iPhone Apps?

Why is it that iPhone/iPod owners can be so picky about the prices of apps after they fork over $300 on an iPod Touch or a few thousand for a 2-year iPhone contract? I see it all the time. People complain about a useful application that they would use every day costing less than half the price of a Big Mac at McDonalds.

I don’t get it.

There is some really great software in the app store, but the developers aren’t making as much money as they probably should be for their efforts. Believe me, software development isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and frustration to build an amazing application, whether it’s an iPhone app or a web application. It bothers me that developers can barely get away with charging $1.99 for anything but a game. Tweetie, back before Twitter bought it and made it their free official app, was well worth its $2.99 price tag. I might have paid more for if the price had been a little higher. Many users would not have. After all, there was a big “outrage” about 1.0 users having to pay $1.99 for Tweetie 2.

I don’t think most people fully appreciate what it takes to develop software. I imagine the same problem is true for other fields. (Auto mechanics come to mind. Everyone whines about how much it costs to get their car fixed, but the garages have to pay for parts and labor somehow…)

What do you think? Should developers be able to charge more without scaring away customers and/or sending them into an entitlement-fueled rage? Am I too biased? Or should all software be free and GPL’d and all that Stallmanesque craziness?

Are iPhone Apps Part of the Web?

It’s pretty obvious that I have a significant interest in iPhone apps and their development. I like to cover the subject here, despite the fact that the site is called “Webmaster-Source” and not “iPhone-Source.” Why is that?

I think mobile applications are as much apart of the field of webmastery as web pages are. Just as a web application can serve-up an HTML frontend or an RSS feed or a JSON result set, it can also have a mobile interface in “app form.” Modern websites generally separate the content from the business logic and the presentation layer, allowing for interface-agnostic systems like Twitter. I can use most of the functions of Twitter through the main website or through HootSuite or through one of the many iPhone apps.

True, mobile apps are not hypertext, but they’re yet another facet of the internet. Let’s face it, normal web pages don’t work terribly well on pocket-sized devices. The iPhone made it tolerable to browse the web on a mobile device, but it’s still not an optimal experience. Apps are the preferred interface, whether we all like it or not.

What do you think: is mobile app development as closely linked to web development as I consider it?

EpicWin: A To-Do List App With an RPG Theme

To-do lists are a great way to organize yourself and make sure you get things done on time. Unfortunately, I have trouble getting into the habit of using a list on a regular basis.

The new iPhone app EpicWin attempts to solve that problem. It’s a simple to-do list application that encourages you to use it with a unique RPG-style angle. You create a character and level up by completing the tasks you assign yourself. You can mark a to-do item as being worth a certain number of experience points, which go to the relevant skill you designate.

For example: I need to write a blog post today, so I add the task “Write blog post on Webmaster-Source” to EpicWin. I assign it 100xp and list it as a feat of Intellect (as opposed to a feat of Strength or something similar). Once I finish the task and check it off, my character is awarded the experience.

I downloaded the app as soon as it went live in the iTunes store last week, having been anticipating its release for a couple of months now. I think it will (hopefully) be the app that will finally put me in the habit of using a to-do list.

Arq: Back Up Your Mac to Amazon S3

I use some shell scripts to back up my web server to Amazon S3. It’s very cheap and off-site, two things that make for a good backup strategy. But what about personal computers? Most people, myself included, simply back up to external hard disk. Off-site backups stored “in the cloud” on remote servers would be a much preferable option. (But most people balk at paying $5-$20 per month for a service like Dropbox, JungleDisk, SpiderOak or Carbonite.)

Arq, by Haystack Software, takes a slightly different approach. It’s designed for those of us who already have Amazon S3 accounts. Arq lets you set a monthly budget, say $5 (which gets you 50GB or storage). The application then keeps the folders you choose mirrored with Amazon S3. It operates on the same hourly schedule as Time Machine, keeping multiple versions of the files. It periodically deletes old versions of the files to stay within the storage space equivalent to the monthly budget you set. It even encrypts your files with a passkey of your choosing.

If you’re selective about the data you back up, the pricing should be fairly reasonable. It seems like a good way to back up data. You could use it in tandem with Dropbox; Arq+S3 for backing up your critical data, Dropbox for sharing and collaborating.

Further Reading

14 Mac Applications I Use Every Day

I made the switch to Mac OS X a little over two years ago when I bought my first MacBook (which is still working fine as my main computer, I might add). I find that my workflow has improved, and I’m more efficient in my daily tasks. Exposé and Spaces are probably a large part of that.

The idea to share my most frequently used applications came to me recently, so I thought I would write-up a quick compilation of the software that I use on a daily basis post-Windows. Obviously I needn’t bother with the “well, duh…” applications like iTunes, Terminal, or my choice in web browser. After all, the major browsers all have Mac versions. Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari. (I use Firefox, despite the speed issues, since I’m fairly dependent on certain extensions.)

Adium

I don’t do a lot of Instant Messaging, but I keep an account on all of the major services for the occasions when I need to. Apple’s own iChat only supports AIM, MobileMe, ICQ, and Bonjour, if I’m not mistaken. Many users, including myself, prefer Adium for it’s extensive protocol support. You can chat on AIM, Jabber (GMail/GTalk), Yahoo, MSN, Facebook, ICQ, Bonjour, and many others. It has a good interface, and it’s feature set is more than adequate for most users. I don’t believe it offers voice or video chat options, but you can always open Skype or iChat for those.

Homepage: Adium

CloudApp

Need to share a file fast? That’s what CloudApp is all about. It sits in your menu bar, waiting for you to drag a file onto it. When you do, it uploads the file to the service’s redundant servers and copies a short URL to your clipboard. It has some more nice features, but that’s the crux of it. I find it useful for sharing files or screenshots, and it keeps my Dropbox account from becoming too cluttered.

Homepage: CloudApp

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