huwmart.in

A really nice little tweaklet which allows you to hide certain applications and folders from appearing in Launchpad. I personally won’t be using it, if i’m going to use Launchpad I wan’t to use it as intended, that and i’m running a pretty tight ship in terms of applications so it isn’t much of a problem.

(via MacStories)

Who said Tweetbot doesn’t add real value to Twitter?

Episode 2: Poof

Episode 2: Poof

This week on the Scatterbrain podcast, I talk about my main motive for jailbreaking my iPhone: Poof. I also discuss some of the other great tweaks in Cydia, why I think people develop for Cydia and how it influences Apple and iOS.

What Safari’s Reading List means for Instapaper
HomeScreen Settings Jailbreak Tweak Enables Settings Options On The Homescreen
Click2Call: Address Book Contacts As SpringBoard Icons
Apple Has Hired MobileNotifier Developer Peter Hajas

Apps:

Task Eater
Calcbot
Week Calendar
Maps+
TextExpander Touch
Boxcar
Instapaper

Listary actually looks to be the closest to what i’ve been looking for for a long while: I really just want to make shopping list’s for books, clothes, software etc. and Listary seems to provide an elegant solution, with most shopping list apps the interfaces are garish, and almost comical - the interface the Listary really look bare-bones and clean. It inspiration obviously comes from the UI of Simplenotes, which it sync’s to as well so you can access lists as plain text from the Simplenote web interface or the app. I didn’t see the benefit myself at first, but that also means it sync’s to Notational Velocity in turn, making it a relatively capable productivity app as well, you can set up an inbox as well as lists for current projects on the go in simple list form, which is awesome since it’s all i’ve ever needed from a to-do app and nothing more.

Today, more than 400,000 apps are available fort the iPhone. Yet, only little public research is available on how people use all these apps. I am working on this! Especially, I am interested in how people customize and organize their devices. This study aims on exploring how people arrange icons on their devices. To take part please perform the following steps. Depending on your iPhone skills, this may take a few but not more than 10 minutes.

This sounds like a pretty interesting research project, I’d love to see the results found from it eventually - looking at my icon layout it feels pretty obvious that I just like it to be a checkerboard of colours, but i’m curious to see what’s found beyond that. If you’re interested in helping out and contributing as well follow the link or hit up istudy@dfki.de, for every 100 participants a €20 iTunes coupon will be raffled off as well to sweeten the deal.

My menu bar

Menu bar

Inspired by the cool stuff going on over at Mac Menu Bars I thought it wouldn’t hurt to share my menu bar setup. Although its relatively short and concise compared to other peoples, it works perfectly for me and it actually helps me to get stuff done.

Sparrow: Super simple email client, the closest (and best) thing you can get to native Gmail on the Mac. Its got a one up on Mail.app as well since it actually has a menu bar icon. A well designed one at that.

Adium: MSN is still my protocol of choice and since Microsoft Messenger is horrible on the Mac I use Adium, fitted out with a nice iChat style menu bar icon which you can find over at adiumxtras.com.

Tweetie: I’m still stuck on PowerPC, so Tweetie is my best option. Pity me. It may not be the best, but it’s still a solid choice even now. Every once and a while i’ll look up and see that little icon shining blue at me, to this day its still one of the most well implemented notification systems out there. Minimal genius.

Dropbox: Self explanatory super sync’y goodness, I only use the menu bar item to get an idea of the syncing status, my percentage usage and for quick links to the web interface. It’s more of an access portal than anything else.

Keyboard Maestro: A powerful macro program i’m playing with the trial for to see if my workflow can benefit from some automation. I use an amazing alternative menu bar icon made by Jono Hunt over at Iconaholic.

Pastebot Sync: More super sync’y goodness. Lets me get copied items to and from my iPod Touch and my Mac easily.

Built in stuff: LsSaAlerter (I have no idea how to get rid of it), Wi-fi1, Volume, Time and Spotlight (I can’t get rid of it either so it just sits there, Alfred is my launcher of launcher instead).


  1. Wi-fi in my house is actually rather temperamental, having a solid connection (like today) is like finding a sack of gold dust, so it’s good to stay aware of how its doing.

@utomation and curation

fetchnotes

I post about a lot of beta software, services and other new fangle app’s, but this has to be the most excited i’ve been about one, ever, mainly because I can see the use case, every use case, and I really, really hope it’s going to be a runaway success. I’m talking about an awesome new notes service for creating “to do’s, thoughts, ideas, quotes and more on-the-go” called fetchnotes.

fetchnotes is like notes on automated steroids with hash tags. Adding #todo to the end of your note in fetchnotes will send it to your to-do list, and you can save with tags like #followup. You’ll also be able to form groups within fetchnotes with your friends, family, co-workers etc. and have shared tags. If you’re working with a team on a project you could say something like “project deadline for Friday 13th #todo @team” and it would add that note to everyone on your “@team” list’s #todo tag. Which should make this a really awesome productivity tool for groups. You’ll also be able to add events to your Google Calendar in the same format you can now with Fantastical by adding #GCal or any other tag you have set up to forward to Google Calendar right inside fetchnotes. And thats what really excites me, adding hash tags to send content to your to-do list, thats an awesome idea, thats curation, but its the automation side of things like creating an event in Google Calendar using plain text in fetchnotes which is where this thing will really come into its own.

What will make fetchnotes really compelling is being able to leverage every other service you can think of right inside it, all in one place: to add a task to Google Tasks you wouldn’t have to go into Google Tasks, you’d just write the task in fetchnotes and include the tag #GTasks at the end. The same with Simplenote, Dropbox, posting tasks in Basecamp and other PMs, Evernote, social networks like Twitter, and Instapaper1, all of which are planned to be integrated into fetchnotes eventually. fetchnotes are going to be the pipes, that curate and automate all of your content to put it where it belongs, creating a unified structure bundling all of the services we use on a daily basis across the net in one place.

fetchnotes is going to be ubiquitous, with a web app, mobile app, desktop app, browser plugin, which is why i’m just so darn amazed by it, I wouldn’t have to venture onto the net ever again if I didn’t want to - I could live inside fetchnotes, pushing content out to everything else via it. The service is supposed to be launching this Summer, and you can sign up for the invite list now over at fetchnotes.com, which I highly recommend you do. They’re also asking for suggestions for other productivity tools and services to integrate over on Twitter so drop them a line or email co-founder Alex Schiff at alex(at)fetchnotes(dot)com if you have any insane ideas.


  1. Which would no doubt be easier than using the mobile bookmarklet.

Click to Cloak

With Cloak I can’t help but be reminded of the modern day parable of a real clever guy who went and sat in a coffee shop with an open network, on his computer, and fired up Firesheep, he then intersepted all of the data packages being sent up from other people in the coffee shop, signed into their Facebook and Twitter and other such accounts, found their email through it and then emailed them himself simply telling them to be more careful on an open network. There are some real clever guys out there, and a lot of them tend to me more malicious than that guy.

Cloak is a service for your Mac that keeps you safe from prying eyes on public wireless networks. I can completely see the appeal, although I don’t have a portable Mac1, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, fast food stores and anywhere else I can actually find with an open network that I can jump on with my iPod Touch, and the first thing I do when I jump on those networks is check Twitter and Facebook, and I know for sure I wouldn’t like to have my user details intercepted for those accounts. Of course, a lot of people have more important things to protect than their login credentials, but Cloak looks to cater for everybody, you can get a free account for 8 hours of protection on open networks a month or you can spend $15 for unlimited protection every month, which looks like an amazing offer for the protection it would give you - perfect for enterprise.

Cloak is in private beta right now, and I haven’t been lucky enough to get an invite, but the website says it all: join a network, click to cloak and surf safe. I can’t wait.

(via One FPS)


  1. I’m considering it though, the next Mac I get will be a MacBook of some sort without a doubt.

Sparrow’s Pretty Dainty

Sparrow

For a long time I was a devoted user of Apple’s Mail.app, despite it’s shortcomings and ugly interface compared to it’s sister app on the iPad, and until a couple of months ago as well I was dragging my feel still using Windows Live for all of my email needs. So you would expect it had to be something pretty huge to drag me into the year 2011 and get me to start using Gmail. That huge thing was actually pretty dainty, and it was Sparrow.

Sparrow has been available in public beta for a while now, I jumped on the bandwagon at Beta 1, and i’ve bigged it up a tonne on here. As of a couple of weeks ago, it’s now available in the Mac App Store with a pile of new features. With this new shipping version, Sparrow comes at a cost as well, so here’s what you should consider before deciding whether it’s worth your £5.99.

It’s refreshing to see an app as well-crafted as Sparrow, it screams elegance and the amount of work that must have been put into it is phenomenal. It was designed to keep things simple and efficient. Just your mail and nothing else. Sparrow integrates really well with all mail accounts, you can use any mail account you want: Gmail, Mobile Me, Yahoo, AOL, and custom IMAP for anything and everything else. Sparrow really shines when you use Gmail though, supporting Gmail labels, Priority Inbox and Starring, if your a Gmail user, Sparrow is the closest you’ll get to a native Gmail experience on the Mac.

Since I started using Sparrow it’s really optimized my workflow, the support for Priority Inbox and labels mean I can easily keep a clean and tidy inbox and get through all of my mail quickly and easily, thanks to Sparrow as well replying to your mail has never been so simple using Quick Reply which means you can respond right inside the email. Click, write and send in the same window. The latest update to Sparrow has also added support for plug-ins so it can integrate better with OS X apps like Things or OmniFocus.Sparrow manages to make using multiple accounts a breeze as well, using the Tweetie inspired sidebar you can Stay up to date with your mail stream on selected accounts while being able to seamlessly switch from one to another. It might sound sad but I genuinely enjoy checking mail in Sparrow, it has threaded email unlike Mail.app letting you quickly flick through threaded conversations. When responding as well Sparrow makes it easy to change fonts, font size, alignment, colour, pretty much everything, right in the app, so that you can make your mail look gorgeous.

Sparrow fully embraces OS X as well, supporting multi-touch to browse your mail and to expand the window, it also supports Quick Look to preview all attachments in emails. Thats where it gets interesting though, Mail 5 which will be arriving with Mac OS X Lion has replicated Mail for iPad on the desktop with added support for threaded mail and other functionality to bring it up to speed against Sparrow including mail rules which aren’t supported in Sparrow yet, so, is Sparrow really worth your money when you can get Mail.app for free? Yes.

Even at £5.99, if you’re a Gmail user Sparrow offers integration Mail will probably never end up supporting, and even if you use MobileMe or Yahoo the rapid development of Sparrow so far shows these guys are great developers who are just going to keep pushing the boundaries.

I’d never heard of this app until today, I was very aware of Flare and Analog, two other super simple photo editors similar to Instagram on iOS, however Photo Studio Pro looks like another pretty valid option if you’re just looking for a filter based photo editor. Photo Studio Pro touts 160 different filters compared to “over 100” from Flare and a yet to be announced amount from Analog, although looking at the final teaser video on their website I get the impression it has a lot less than that, maybe in the double digits. The only really prominent hang-up I have about Photo Studio Pro is the UI, Analog and Flare look like insanely well-crafted app’s whereas Photo Studio Pro looks like a well-done Air app at best. In the end it comes down to price I guess, if you want an app for really easy editing with a tonne of filters, Photo Studio Pro is a decent deal coming in at $39.99, I think thats a bit much though, considering Flare is only $19.95 and if you’re looking for a true solid photo editor you can fork out a little bit more for Pixelmator or Acorn respectively.

(via SoldierKnowsBest)

If iTunes was a hipster

Ecoute

There’s no denying iTunes is one of the most influential pieces of software to come out of the Apple HQ in Cupertino in the last decade, it changed the music industry for better and for always, there is also no denying though that as a music player iTunes can be cumbersome and clunky, there is just too much window for it to be a plain and simple music player. There are so many iTunes controllers out there which try to make using iTunes quicker and easier, a very well known one is Bowtie, as well as CoverSutra, and of course, Ecoute.

Unlike most other iTunes controllers Ecoute is a windowed application, it squeezes all of the awesomeness of iTunes into a window a quarter of it’s size. When you open it, you get a small window with all the Artists in your iTunes library. From there you just choose the Artist you want to listen to and that’s it! Because there’s less window to navigate Ecoute gives a better, quicker experience, one of it’s big advantages is that it only has to focus on playing your iTunes library so it’s a lot more responsive. One thing I really love about Ecoute is that it really embraces keyboard controls, you can easily navigate through your Artists, Albums and Songs all day just by using four keys: Left, Right, Up and Down. To make dealing with things a lot quicker Ecoute also has a fully configurable shortcuts preference pane, so that you can do pretty much anything in the app just using your keyboard. If you’re not a fan of keyboard controls though, you can use it just fine without with ease, or you can even link up your Apple Remote.

Ecoute has a leg up on Bowtie, it allows you to do multiple things Bowtie can’t, all in one window. Ecoute manages to tie in really well with social media, on of it’s killer features is sharing your music with your friends, Ecoute can post the song you’re listening to on Facebook, Twitter, or with Last.fm, it also integrates really well with Grooveshark so you can even post an audio link to the song. Another great feature in Ecoute is the ability to watch the music video of the song your listening to. Ecoute can find videos of the song playing on YouTube with one simple click, a list of videos are opened on Ecoute that you can filter based on Relevance, Rating, Play Count, or Global Rating. The one downside to this exceptional little feature though is that when you chose a video, it will open in your browser, rather than in-line in the app. Another novel little feature is that you can view the lyrics to a song you’re listening to, if any apply, which I confess i’ve never used myself but it really underpins the fact that the developers have thought of everything, I feel looked after when I use this app.

Unlike iTunes, Ecoute manages to get out of the way, there are no unnecessary sidebars or controls, it’s an incredibly minimal app, a perfect example of this is the one menu-let in the app, allowing you to navigate quickly and seamlessly between different categories of content, in iTunes whenever something new is supported it just gets added to the sidebar, Ecoute manages to do things so much more tastefully. Another great feature is the ability to search for a specific song. If you have a huge iTunes library, just type the first letter of the track, album, or artist and you’ll usually find the song you were looking for.

Every pixel in the interface of Ecoute just looks so minimal and so polished, the developers have even created their own video controls for movies and podcasts. Like Bowtie as well, Ecoute also supports a desktop widget for controlling your music, there are themes you can make or download for Ecoute. The PixieApps’ website also has a lot of Ecoute skins that they like.

I personally adore Ecoute, it might not be to some peoples tastes as it’s obviously not iTunes, but I think that’s a good thing. There is far less weight to it compared to iTunes, which is noticeable when iTunes stalls loading while Ecoute launches in a flash. When i’m using Ecoute I feel like everything has been thought through a little better, from the interface, to the functionality, everything just makes a little more sense. Ecoute is perfect as long as you are cool with giving up the iTunes Store, iTunes Sync and Ping. You probably wont miss that last one but I find myself having to open iTunes on occasion to buy a song, sync my iPod or download new podcasts. Ecoute is like if iTunes was a hipster - it would look really awesome and be super social - that sums it up pretty well I think.

Although Ecoute is an iTunes controller, not a replacement, it can’t be competitive with iTunes until you can at least download updates via it, until that day, I think i’m still going to use it, but it will sadly be co-dependent on iTunes. Ecoute costs £5.50 which is worth it without a doubt, providing a more polished take on iTunes. If I haven’t quite convinced you, you can download Ecoute and use a 15 day free trial, Once your free trial runs out, you get 15 minutes of usage before Ecoute quits each time.

If you like the take Ecoute has on playing music, you’ll be excited as I was to hear as well that the awesome guys at PixiApps are working on Ecoute for iOS to “bring something new to the iPod app” which will obviously have the same beautiful user interface and extra little bonuses like social that the Mac version does. Follow the progress over here.

We can all forget about Angry Birds in Chrome now, RAGE in WebGL has put it to shame.

This sounds intriguing, even though this is just a patent now, it at least suggests that a photo editing application by Apple for touch devices is in the works. I’d be excited to see Aperture on an iPad - even if this app was less like Aperture and more like iPhoto it would be really great to do basic photo editing on an iPad, and in comparison to the Photoshop concept for iPad which Adobe showed off which looked relatively mediocre. I think an editing application would be great to use on the set. Apple have already made compelling apps for moves, music - now the last challenge is photos, and i’m sure it wont even be too much of a challenge.