Switching to Windows

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 06 Sep 2011

A few months ago I switched from Mac to Windows. The reason was work. At Memonic we develop a consumer application which should work well for non-geeks and average consumers. But a while ago I noticed that at our office every single one of us was either on Mac or Linux. While you can test Windows apps well enough using VMWare that just didn’t happen in practive — not least because of the heavy memory tax of running Mac and Windows side to side.

So I decided to switch to Windows full time. Not only that, I vowed to make Internet Explorer my main browser. That of course means that my IQ is below average (or not).

The switch wasn’t nearly as painful as I had expected. Here’s a list of tools I need to make it worth the while.

  • TotalCommander — TotalCommander is a magical file browser. It’s the very first thing I installed and the app I missed most on Mac and Linux.
  • Launchy — An application and document launcher like Mac’s Quicksilver. I’m not 100% happy with Launchy and from time to time look at alternatives.
  • Vim — Finding a good TextMate replacement wasn’t easy. With most editors I tried it came down to project support that just wasn’t to my style. If I remember correctly that’s also why I ditched E. But with Vim and the Project plugin I’m happy for for now. The individual vimprojects files are index by Launchy so I can easily open a project.
  • PuTTY — Every server I use is set up as a bookmark and indexed by Launchy.
  • Console — A proper console for Windows. Using Tabs you can run Windows’ own shell, Cygwin bash or the Powershell. I even have tabs for various Python versions and for a tail command I use often.
  • VirtualBox — For those times I need an old Windows version or want to try something on Linux I use VirtualBox.

If there is any important app that I should be checking out, please tell me.

OS X clipboard access from the shell

Posted by Patrice Neff Fri, 20 Feb 2009

Chris Siebenmann motivated me to finally do something about the situation of my web site passwords.

So I needed some nice password generation process. I looked at 1password but didn’t find it terribly attractive. Instead I’m using the OSX keychain. For generating passwords I use the excellent apg. And since today this shell function:

clippass() {
    apg -M SNCL -m 15 -n 1 | pbcopy

This creates a long and safe password, pastes it to the clipboard using pbcopy and then shows it on the command line by pasting it again from the clipboard using pbpaste.

Next step will be to integrate that in Quicksilver, then I won’t even have to leave the browser.

Continuous testing with Python

Posted by Patrice Neff Sat, 07 Feb 2009

Back when I did some Ruby on Rails development I was a big fan of autotest. With it I could stay in my editor while the project test suite got executed with every change.


Now that I’m working in Python I was looking for something similar and I was successful. You’ll need the following:

Then you can execute tdaemon like this in your project directory:


tdaemon.py --custom-args='--with-growl'

This will continually execute the test suite and notify you with growl about the status as you can see in this screencast:



To get this working as shown in the screencast I actually had to make some changes.

First nosegrowl didn’t install well using easy_install as the images were missing. So I went ahead and did it manually:

$ hg clone http://hg.assembla.com/nosegrowl
$ cd nosegrowl/nose-growl/
$ sed -i.bak 's/growl.start/# growl.start/' nosegrowl/growler.py
$ python setup.py install

The 'sed’ command is optional. But I don’t want to be notified when the test suite starts, only when it ends. So I uncomment the growl.start line.

Additionally to make tdaemon less noisy when working with vim I added the swap files to the exclude list. Open the tdaemon.py file and edit the IGNORE_EXTENSIONS line to look like this:

IGNORE_EXTENSIONS = ('pyc', 'pyo', 'swp')

GTD with DEVONthink Pro

Posted by Patrice Neff Mon, 27 Aug 2007

In a previous article I gave an introduction to GTD. In this post I’ll describe how I actually implemented that system using the fabulous DEVONthink.

DEVONthink Pro

First a word of introduction. If you don’t use DEVONthink yet, I recommend you to try out specific tools like iGTD or kgtd first. They may be better suited to implementing a basic GTD system. I went with DEVONthink because all my reference material is already in there and so putting in my actions and projects into the same system makes sense. Additionally I don’t mind some custom hacking and customization which definitely is necessary with DEVONthink.

I believe with DEVONthink Personal you won’t be able to do some things I describe – for example script support is missing. I personally use DEVONthink Pro Office but DEVONthink Pro will suffice for what I describe here.

To give you an idea how addicted I am to that tool, here is what I store in by DEVONthink database:

  • Almost all documents I get via snail mail – scanned with OCR so they are full-text searchable.
  • Important documents I get via e-mail.
  • Snippets of online news articles. I use the command “Take Rich Note” in the service menu so I can do that from Safari and other applications.
  • All my del.icio.us bookmarks.
  • Notes I wrote about usage of a specific technology, software, etc.
  • Electronic books of different programming languages and technologies. For example some PDF books from the Pragmatic Programmers.
  • Book keeping. I use the Sheet/Record functionality of DEVONthink with the addition of an AppleScript to do a basic income/expense analysis by month.

So you can clearly see, that I am addicted to that program and have basically stored my recent life in there. And I take a lot of care about backing up that database regularly. Because of that for me it makes a lot of sense to add my GTD setup in the same database.


Based on a comment in the book, one of the first things I tried out is to store all my reference material alphabetically. Before I had complicated hierarchic structures which made filing and also navigating increasingly harder. Now I have the Reference folder containing just the alphabet. And below that the folders are filed with almost no hierarchy.

See the example in the screenshot:

Folder Structure

Next I created a GTD folder structure. I have these root folders now:

  • Actions: Next Actions
  • Inbox: Where I put stuff. I configured that as the destination of new notes in the setting (Preferences → Import → New notes)
  • Projects: One subfolder for each active project plus a list of “Future projects”
  • Tickler: The tickler / 43 folders structure from the book. I am still experimenting with it and am not yet really convinced that I like it.
  • Waiting: Actions that are pending because I’m waiting for input by some other person.
  • del.icio.us: All my bookmarks from del.icio.us. Automatically imported about once a day.
  • Finance: Balance sheets and all my scanned documents. As the offline documents I get are 95% finance related, the group name is appropriate for me.
  • Notes: Short notes about stuff I do, etc. that I can’t file in a specific reference place. Usually it’s phone conversations or short quotes I read somewhere.
  • Reference: My reference folder, see above.
  • Web: Links to web sites that I often read inside DEVONthink and feeds.
  • Done: Actions that have been completed. One subfolder per month. I like keeping archives, storage is cheap nowadays.


The contexts are handled as subfolders of Actions. errands, home, etc.


The project folder contains one subfolder for each project where I store documents. Additionally for projects that require files on the file system – code for example – I create a folder with the same name in a file system project folder.


With the help of AppleScripts I make two aspects of the handling easier: creating of actions and archiving them.

Both of these scripts I have from John Wiegley. downloaded from the DEVONacademy scripts site.

DEVONthink Jot Task

I use the Jot script to quickly create new actions. It prompts for a title and creates a new task in the Inbox with that name. From there I manually move it into a project folder or into a context.

 on handle_string(s)
     tell application “DEVONthink Pro”
         set theInbox to create location “/! Inbox”
         set theRecord to create record with {name:s, type:txt} in theInbox
         set state visibility of theRecord to true
     end tell
 end handle_string

on run tell application “DEVONthink Pro” activate display dialog “Create a quick task: “ default answer “” my handle_string(text returned of the result) end tell end run

This script I made accessible using the F6 key through Quicksilver. To set up that, go to the Quicksilver settings, Triggers, Custom Triggers. There create a new HotKey, select the AppleScript you saved somewhere on your disk and assign it the trigger you want.

Move Contents to Done

The collection also includes a script called “Move Contents to Done” to archive completed actions.

 on moveCompleted(theRecord)
     tell application “DEVONthink Pro”
         set theChildren to children of theRecord
         repeat with theChild in theChildren
             if state of theChild is true and state visibility of theChild is true then
                 set theGroup to create location “/_ Done”
                 move record theChild to theGroup
                 my moveCompleted(theChild)
             end if
         end repeat
     end tell
 end moveCompleted

on triggered(theRecord) try my moveCompleted(theRecord) on error error_message number error_number if the error_number is not -128 then try display alert “DEVONthink Pro” message error_message on error number error_number if error_number is -1708 then display dialog error_message buttons {“OK”} default button 1 end try end if end try end triggered

Save that script somewhere on your disk, open the Info panel of the Actions folder (menu Tools, Show Info) and assign the script.


I took some time to find nice icons for the folders. It makes looking at this tool a lot nicer. The icons are extracted from several Mac OS X tools (iCal, XCode, Mail.app). Right-click any application on your disk and select “Show Package Contents” in the menu. Then in the folder “Contents”, “Resources” you find the icons of the application.


I have used that system in DEVONthink for about three months now. I even used it for the biggest project in my life so far: the wedding.

Being able to easily link to reference material and scanned documents from actions has been a killer feature for me.

More effective mail reading

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 03 Jul 2007

About two weeks ago I did a slight adjustment to my mail reading approach. So far it has served me really well and thus I’d like to document it.

The basic approach is that I want a clean inbox. My inbox it should only include known good mail. This is opposite to the traditional approach which is to have mails in the inbox which are not known to be bad. A slight but important difference.

So for now I have created a rule in Mail.app which looks like this:

So if I don’t know the sender and the mail is not addressed to my full name, it gets moved to a separate folder.

Then to read my mail I go to the inbox which I know to be good. Then from time to time I’ll check my “Dubious” folder plus the Junk folder.

There are two possible changes which I’m still considering:

  • Instead of a “Dubious” folder I might move it directly into the Junk folder
  • Or the reverse: I could turn of the junk mail filter completely and just rely on my “Dubious” folder.

Do you have any mail hacks that you could share? Any improvements you can suggest?

Browser shortcuts with multiple keywords

Posted by Patrice Neff Mon, 23 Apr 2007

I have written about quick search in Firefox before. The same thing is possible in Safari with Saft – a must-have plugin if you actually want to use Safari.

There is an additional feature there which Firefox doesn’t have: you can enter multiple search terms with a quick search. A good example where you want that is SBB.

Right-click in any of the form fields there and select the option “Add as Saft shortcut…”. Then give it a good name and shortcut. The URL is already prefilled. For the SBB example it’s

 http://sbb.ch/ {REQ0JourneyStopsS0G=%@, REQ0JourneyStopsS0A=7, REQ0JourneyStopsZ0G=%@, REQ0JourneyStopsZ0A=7, REQ0JourneyStops1.0G=%@, REQ0JourneyDate=%@, REQ0JourneyTime=%@}

There are five different form options here. Cut out the ones you don’t need. In my case I ended up with the from and to:

 http://sbb.ch/ {REQ0JourneyStopsS0G=%@, REQ0JourneyStopsZ0G=%@}

Now to start a search just enter “sbb st. gallen, winterthur” in the URL and it will give you the current connections from “st. gallen” to “winterthur”. Use the coma to separate the different search terms.

TextMate blogging bundle

Posted by Patrice Neff Mon, 23 Apr 2007

TextMate, my editor of choice, has the ability to blog directly from the editor. Not sure yet whether this is actually better than using MarsEdit, but is definitely quite high on the coolness factor.

This article is basically only a test to see whether this actually works.

Copy web site to DEVONthink

Posted by Patrice Neff Sat, 21 Apr 2007

I’ve been using DEVONthink Pro for writing notes and cataloging my know-how for a year now. I’m trying to copy news I read and want to keep there.

Using the internal web browser of DEVONthink it’s possible to copy web sites as rich text into DEVONthink. But it’s a hassle to copy first the web site link into DEVONthink, then open it, and from there create the rich text note. So I’ve always wanted to do that from Safari directly.

Lo and behold, it’s easy to do it from Safari: In the services menu (which I so far almost never used) there is a DEVONthink pro entry. Just select some part of the current web site then select Safari->Services->DEVONthink Pro->Take Rich Note. The short cut is Apple+).

It’s even possible to add the selection to the currently selected document in DEVONthink using Append Rich Note.

Digital Color Meter

Posted by Patrice Neff Thu, 19 Apr 2007

As a web developer I often have to find out the exact color that the designer gave me to implement. I always used to do that with opening the image in the Gimp and then using the color picker.

Now I find that OS X actually comes pre-installed with a tool for that: Digital Color Meter. It’s in your Utilities folder and allows you to find out the color of anything on the screen.

Thanks to Chregu for the tip.

Yeah, that was finally a topic to blog again. ;-) I have shifted priorities at the moment and blogging is not terribly high there. More updates to come on what’s the current priorities.

Custom photo importing on the Mac

Posted by Patrice Neff Sun, 24 Dec 2006

I’m quite picky about my photo management. The thing I’m most picky about is my folder structure as I want to be able to live independent of a single photo management application. So far iPhoto did not allow me to keep my own structure and still use it. But that became possible with version 6 of iPhoto and as it came pre-installed on my MacBook Pro I’m now using it.

Today I spent a short while to get it nicely integrated into my workflow. Without my strict folder naming requirements I could just set iPhoto to download my photos automatically and import them whenever I connect my camera. To move them into my own structure it’s a little bit more work – but not much.

First I created the following Ruby script and saved it as ~/bin/organize-pictures.rb.

require 'rubygems’
require 'exifr’

TARGET_DIR = “/Users/pneff/Pictures/Digicam/”

ARGV.each do |pic| obj = EXIFR::JPEG.new(pic) if not obj.nil? picdate = obj.exif.date_time picdir = TARGET_DIR + picdate.strftime(”%Y/%Y-%m-%d”) picname = picdir + “/” + File.basename(pic) begin Dir.mkdir(picdir) unless File.exists?(picdir) File.rename(pic, picname) puts picname rescue puts “Could not rename #{pic}” end end

For the script to work the “exifr” module must be installed. You can do that by executing sudo gem install exifr on the command line.

This script accepts a list of file names as command line parameters. It parses the EXIF tags of each file to determine the photo’s date and then moves it into the folder specified with TARGET_DIR. The folder naming is configured inside the strftime. In my case it’s a basic folder with the year and inside that a folder with year-month-day. The script will probably fail if the year folder does not exist yet, I may fix that in the future.

Replace the value of the TARGET_DIR constant with your own folder where you store the pictures.

Afterwards I created an application using Automator with the following three actions:

  1. “Download Pictures” from the application Image Capture. You can optionally check the “Delete images from camera after download” checkbox, but I chose to leave it unchecked until I really trust that setup.
  2. “Run Shell Script” from the application Automator. Put in this script: /Users/pneff/bin/organize-pictures.rb “$@”
  3. “Import photos” from the application iPhoto. Choose the album where pictures should be imported.

Save that script as an application. I chose to save it into my bin directory in the home as well. You can test that application now by double-clicking it. The pictures should be moved to the correct folder and then imported into iPhoto.

Once everything works, launch the application Image Capture. In the preferences you can select an action that will be executed when you connect a camera. Select the application you just created with Automator.

Update August 23, 2007

Rob wrote me an e-mail with the following comment:

It looks like the version of automator included with 10.4.10 adds some fancy stuff to the first and last file in the argument list (strange quotes) which of courses messes up the file processing.

Here’s my hacky fix:

 ARGV.each do |pic|
   # clean up the crap automator adds to the first and last filename
   pic = pic.sub(/^[^\/]*\//, '/')
   pic = pic.sub(/\.JPG.*$/, '.JPG') 
   obj = EXIFR::JPEG.new(pic)

It’s hacky because it relies on a “/” to indicate the start of the filename and they have to end in .JPG but it works for my needs and might help someone else out there.

Using TextMate for SQL queries

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 05 Sep 2006

TextMate offers an SQL bundle. That bundle can also be used to query MySQL and PostgreSQL databases directly from TextMate.

The configuration for the database access is done though environment variables. Specifically the following ones in the case of PostgreSQL:

  • PGHOST: Database host
  • PGPORT: Postgres port (usually the default of 5432 just works)
  • PGUSER: User name
  • PGDATABASE: Database to run queries on
  • TM_DB_SERVER: Tells TextMate to use PostgreSQL.

You can either set up these environment variables in the TextMate settings or – much more helpful – per project. In the project drawer deselect all files (by clicking on an empty spot) and then open the properties. There you can add project-specific environment variables.

Next open a file in the SQL mode. I now do that by having a specific directory in my project with SQL files. In that file prepare your statements, then select the one you want to run and press Ctrl+Shift+Q (or select the bundle item “Execute Selection as Query”).

Two queries that may be helpful:

— list tables

— describe table
\d tablename

TestXSLT on OS X

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 30 May 2006

At work the templating is done with . I have the Bitflux freaks to thank for that.

Currently I'm writing a really tricky XSLT template (for me), so I was investigating a tool for getting things done quicker. And Marc Liyanage is my hero. He has written an OS X application called TestXSLT to quickly test an XSLT stylesheet against some XML file.

It accepts an XML and an XSLT file and gives you the parsed output. You can look at it in text mode, HTML mode (exactly what I need) and even XSL-FO (which I have never used).

DEVONthink: Making the switch

Posted by Patrice Neff Mon, 20 Feb 2006

I reported a few days ago, that I was trying out DEVONthink. I have also had a look at . But after looking at the price ($192 per year) I was not very motivated to have a deep look. A quick look I took and it didn't seem to provide what I'm looking for.

Meanwhile I imported most of the articles from my personal Wiki into DEVONthink and I also had a look at the export function. While it's not a world-class export function, it's reasonable. It can spit out a file hierarchy with all the RTF, PDF, etc. files in it (but the links are not preserved). It's also capable of exporting as a Web site where all the links will be preserved and the RTF pages are converted to (ugly) HTML.

All in all I am very impressed. It's indexing capabilities are great and it also integrates very nicely with the Web. I especially like the features of clipping text directly from Web sites. If you open a Web site in DEVONthink (or ) you can add the whole page or a selection to the database as a rich text document. I currently use that mainly to add clippings from or .

I guess I'll report some of my tips for using DEVONthink in the future. Meanwhile I'm waiting until it presents me with a "buy now!!!" message and will most probably purchase it then.

Correction: Tinderbox costs $192 to buy for the first time and comes with one year of free updates (that's where my $192/year came from). But the update "only" costs $90.

Update: As you can see in the following picture, there is already quite a lot of stuff in my database.
DEVONthink database statistics

NetNewsWire vs. Vienna

Posted by Patrice Neff Wed, 15 Feb 2006

I had a few problems with lately. For one my computer became unresponsive while NetNewsWire was updating all my feeds. Additionally there seem to be a few memory leaks in the application. The problem with the computer becoming unresponsive seems to be resolved now, after I deleted the folder ~/Library/Caches/NetNewsWire as suggested by support.

But I still took a few minutes to investigate other feed reader on OS X. Seems there isn't all that much of choice in that area. I quite like . Though I found two big blockers for me. It seems to always sort feeds and folders alphabetically. Also it doesn't provide per-feed refresh settings. I do sort my feeds manually as a way of priorizing them. Also I have a few feeds I use for work and I want to have them updated hourly (actually I'd like to have them updated more often, but NetNewsWire doesn't permit this). But should NetNewsWire ever have a paid upgrade, I'll probably have a hard look at Vienna (and it's source code if there are a few things I don't like yet).

I also tried . But somehow during the first two minutes of using it I didn't get a handle on it, so I stopped using it again. It costs money and it seems that you can't try out the commercial version but only the light version before purchasing. A big no-no for me.

PowerBook power supply on fire

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 07 Feb 2006

A few minutes ago the power supply of my started to burn. Literally. Pretty scary, too.

So now I'll have to look for a new power supply and it has to be fast. I'm backing up my data to the network so I will at least have access to that after my notebook's battery is empty.

I do hope that MacTienda or one of the other Apple service centers here has a 12" PowerBook power supply on stock.

Update: I phoned the company IT Service in Miraflores, Lima. They apparently have one power supply on stock and I'll go and get it this afternoon. I hope it's the right one, but I'm pretty positive about it.

Update 2: They did have the right part in stock and I bought it. They explained me that Apple requires official Apple Service Providers to have such parts in stock. I probably could have required them to give me the part for free as I still have an Apple guarantee until ca. August this year. But for one half I forgot about it and for the other half I was just so glad to have a new part that I didn't mind paying a bit for it.

SubEthaEdit now costs

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 07 Feb 2006

That's the kind of change I hate. First providing a software for free (as in beer) for non-commercial uses and then changing to shareware. First getting a ton of free bug reports and feedback and advertisement and then "okay, thank you and now place pay". I'm talking about the new release of SubEthaEdit.

And the changelog doesn't even look impressive. Boy am I glad that I use .

And on the DasGenie weblog comments don't work. I hope, my trackback does get through.

Sorry for the rant, SubEthaEdit is still the greatest editor I know to collaboratively work on a document. It's just awesome in that area.

Update: My comments did get through after all. Maybe comments are moderated on DasGenie weblog or there was a caching problem.

Mail.app features

Posted by Patrice Neff Sat, 28 Jan 2006

There are a few Mail.app features and plugins that make this application much more usable to me. Many of them are hidden. So let me list them here for yours (and my future) information.

  • Smart folders are your friend: Especially the hint Emulate Gmail's conversations in Mail.app helped me a lot to have a better overview of my mailbox. I also have a smart folder with all unread messages (to get a quick overview over new mailinglist messages) and one with all flagged messages (to remind me of to-do items)
  • Keyboard shortcuts for jumping to top and bottom of message list. This is a serious design flaw in Mail.app because it doesn't behave like I usually expect it on Mac. But thanks to this hint I know the solution: Press Option+Up (or Option+Down) for one second. Also Option+Up/Down (without waiting one second) jump to the previous/next related message.
  • Use Mail Act-On to get keyboard shortcuts for some actions (e.g. moving a message into a specific folder)
  • Use rules. The ones I use are
    • Marking spam as read (so Mail.app doesn't notify me about new spam in the dock icon)
    • Mark people from my address bock with a color in mailing lists. This doesn't have any real use but I find it interesting to quickly spot new messages by known people. And I do sometimes add people who provide very good information on a list into my address bock.
    • And of course I move mail for different mailing lists into different folders
  • I also have the following extensions installed:
    • Mail Type Select to quickly select messages by keyboard.
    • GPGMail for GPG support in Mail.app (unfortunately rarely used because not many people use GPG/PGP)

This list may get updated if I find new stuff.

Update 01:33 Document the plugins GPGMail and Mail Type Select

MacBook Pro

Posted by Patrice Neff Sun, 15 Jan 2006

The name sucks. But the new looks promising. I guess I'll have to convince my boss to provide me with one of those as my work machine.

NeoOffice 1.2 Alpha

Posted by Patrice Neff Thu, 24 Nov 2005

Gerade lade ich mir die Version 1.2 Alpha von herunter. NeoOffice ist ein Port auf Mac OS X für .

Leider basiert NeoOffice momentan noch immer auf der OpenOffice.org Version 1.x. Vor kurzem wurde die Version 2 veröffentlicht. Diese habe ich installiert und während mit OpenOffice.org grundsätzlich extrem gut gefällt ist die Integration mit X Windows halt doch nicht so das Wahre. Da hat mir auch die aktuelle Version von NeoOffice schon einiges besser gefallen.

Ach ja und die Neuerungen:
This release now uses Apple's more stable Java 1.4.x release instead of the Apple's older, less stable Java 1.3.1 release. Also, since Sun's recent OpenOffice.org 2.0 release supports the new Open Document file formats, this release is based on the OpenOffice 1.1.5 code which gives NeoOffice the ability to import Open Document files.

Testbericht folgt, sobald der Download beendet ist.

(Via Golem)

Reisen mit Mac OS X

Posted by Patrice Neff Thu, 13 Oct 2005

Bei meiner Reise nach Peru habe ich einige Elemente von OS X neu zu schätzen gelernt. Drei Beispiele: iCal, Sprachen und das Dashboard.

iCal, die Kalender-Software von , kann sehr gut mit Zeitzonen umgehen. Oben rechts im Fenster kann ich die verschiedenen Zeitzonen definieren. Danach ist es möglich, Kalendereinträge in verschiedenen Zeitzonen anzulegen und die Zeit wird dann korrekt in die jeweils aktuelle Zeitzone umgerechnet. Als ich meinen PC von Europa/Zürich auf América/Lima umstellte, hat iCal beim ersten Start gleich nachgefragt, ob da die iCal Zeitzone auch umgestellt werden soll.

Sprachen sind auch sehr hübsch. Falls installiert, ist es möglich, praktisch on-the-fly die Systemsprache zu ändern. Nachdem die Einstellung in den Systemeinstellungen geändert wurde, verwendet jedes neu gestartete Programm die neue Sprache. Der Finder (mit Desktop, etc.) ändert die Sprache nach einem Login. Das ist aus verschiedenen Gründen sehr praktisch. Erstens habe ich mein System jetzt auf Spanisch gestellt um mich schneller an die Sprache zu gewöhnen und auch um die Computer-Ausdrücke zu lernen. Dann wollte der Typ im Internet-Café einige Netzwerk-Einstellungen vornehmen (ja, ich kann da jetzt meinen Laptop verwenden!). Dies viel ihm einiges leichter mit spanischen Begriffen. Und schliesslich ist es praktisch, die Sprache ändern zu können, wenn ein ausländischer Freund etwas am Computer erledigen soll. Oder umgekehrt: als ein Freund und ich in Japan mal die Apple Präsentations-Software Keynote austesten wollten, haben wir die Sprache von Japanisch auf Englisch geschaltet und konnten so etwas mit Keynote anfangen.

Und dann noch das Dashboard. Heute standen im Internet-Café wieder mal drei Leute um mich rum, weil sie mein PowerBook so schön, super, famos und so weiter fanden. Da hat jemand nach dem Preis gefragt, den ich natürlich nur in Schweizer Franken wusste. Um das in eine bekanntere Währung umzurechnen habe ich dann erstmal finance.yahoo.com als Adresse eingegeben, bis mir dann einviel, dass ich ja im Dashboard einen Währungsrechner habe. Der hat nur den Nachteil, dass die Währung Nuevo Sol nicht zur Verfügung steht. US Dollar reicht aber meistens.
Und was ich im Dashboard auch noch habe sind drei Uhren in den verschiedenen für mich relevanten Zeitzonen: Lima, Zürich und Tokyo. Sehr praktisch für einen kurzen Check, ob ich auf eine Mail oder SMS gleich eine Antwort erwarten kann oder nicht. Und natürlich für Telefonate sowieso.

Ach ja, wenn jemand eine gute Software sucht um Vokabeln zu lernen: erledigt die Aufgabe sehr gut. Ursprünglich vermisste ich es, dass es bei der Abfrage von Vokabeln die Sprache nicht automatisch wechseln kann. Was ich wollte war, dass die ersten beide male von Spanisch auf Deutsch abgefragt würde (da einfacher) und danach von Deutsch auf Spanisch (da schwieriger). Mittlerweile vermisse ich das nicht mehr, ich lasse immer Deutsch auf Spanisch abfragen.

Spotlight Podcast

Posted by Patrice Neff Sat, 30 Jul 2005

David Pogue ist Autor der O'Reilly Missing Manual Serie. Unter anderem hat er die Bücher Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition oder Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Ed geschrieben.

Und wahrscheinlich als Werbung für seine Tiger Ausgaben hat er nun einen Podcast zum Thema Spotlight produziert. Kurz und prägnant zeigt er mit fünf kurzen Tipps, wie Spotlight besser verwendet werden kann. Ich muss zugeben, Spotlight verwende ich bisher kaum. Für Programme habe ich Quicksilver und die wichtigsten Dokumente habe ich auch da indiziert. Aber die Tipps von David haben mich nun inspiriert, Spotlight ein wenig öfters zu verwenden.

Also nichts wie ab zum Podcast All About Spotlight.

NetNewsWire 2.0.1

Posted by Patrice Neff Fri, 22 Jul 2005

Das nenne ich Timing. Gerade habe ich noch kommentiert, dass NetNewsWire noch kein Atom 1.0 unterstütze. Weniger als eine halbe Stunde später hat Ranchero Software die neue Version 2.0.1 von NetNewsWire veröffentlich - mit Unterstützung für Atom 1.0. So geht das.

(Und wer den Maloney-Link nicht versteht muss sich mal eine Ausgabe von der Sendung zu Ende hören)

SubEthaEdit Modus für Gliederungen

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 12 Jul 2005

Für SubEthaEdit habe ich einen kleinen Modus geschrieben, der Gliederungen vereinfacht. Der Grund ist, dass ich SubEthaEdit letzte Woche für ein gemeinsames Brainstorming verwendet habe. Dabei haben ein Kollege und ich - er in Zürich und ich in St. Gallen - gemeinsam an einer Projektidee gearbeitet. Wir haben für die Outline folgendes Format verwendet:
Titel 1:
- Unterpunkt A
- Unterpunkt B
- Unterpunkt C
- Unterpunkt C.a
- Unterpunkt C.b
- Unterpunkt C.b.a
- Unterpunkt D

Titel 2:
- Unterpunkt 2.A

Mein Gliederungs-Modus funktioniert für diesen Syntax und bietet zwei Erleichterungen an:
  • Die Titel werden fett hervorgehoben
  • Titel und erste Unterpunkt-Ebene werden in den Symbol-Navigator aufgenommen

Der Modus wurde in 30 Minuten zusammengehackt und ist alles andere als vollständig. So funktioniert er im Moment nur für Einrückungen mit genau vier Leerzeichen. Ich werde das noch zu beheben versuchen.

Download und Installations-Anleitung gibt es auf meiner Webseite: Outline mode for SubEthaEdit.

Top 10 Mac Software: Die Liste

Posted by Patrice Neff Fri, 08 Jul 2005

Wie versprochen liefere ich jetzt noch die Text-Version der Top 10 Liste meines gestrigen Podcasts nach.

Podcast: Top 10 Mac Software

Posted by Patrice Neff Thu, 07 Jul 2005

Welcome to all the English readers coming over from top of the pods. Below you'll find the original version of their Mac software podcast in Swiss German. It probably won't make much sense to you, though. ;-) Sorry there is not much English content around here. But I'm planning to add something for you guys to in the future. Meanwhile you can visit my more static and rarely updated Web site over at www.patrice.ch. Thanks for your visit and have a good stay.

Ich habe heute ein wenig rumgespielt um einen Podcast (oder iRiver Cast oder Rivercast oder so) aufzunehmen. Nach dem Vorbild von top of the pods aus Grossbritannien, habe ich mich entschiedenen eine Top 10 Liste zusammenzustellen.

Das Thema: meine liebste Software für Mac OS X. Die Software, die mit OS X mitgeliefert wird, habe ich dabei bewusst ausgelassen.

Die Qualität der Sendung überzeugt mich noch nicht so wirklich. Mal schauen, ob ich je wieder einen Podcast mache. Aber da ich an diesem doch eine Weile gearbeitet habe wollte ich den nicht einfach in meinem Archiv verstauben lassen.

Podcast #1, 2005-07-07

Die Musik die zu Beginn und am Schluss läuft ist Everbody Let's Rock von The Velcrows.

Die Text-Version der Liste kommt morgen, um niemandem die Überraschung zu verderben. :-)

Photo Software für den Mac

Posted by Patrice Neff Sun, 17 Apr 2005

Nun ist es so weit. Mein erstes Posting in der Serie "Mac". Voraussichtlich dieses Jahr werde ich mit einem PC auf Mac umsteigen. Momentan arbeite ich unter Debian Linux. Die Gründe für einen Umstieg sind vielfältig. Der Hauptgrund ist, dass ich noch das dritte der wichtigen Betriebssysteme besser kennen lernen möchte. Bei den Programmiersprachen halte ich es schliesslich auch mit den Pragmatic Programmers und lerne etwa jedes Jahr eine neue. So möchte ich auch mit dem Erlernen eines anderen Betriebssystem meinen Horizont erweitern.

Nun arbeite ich momentan daran, für meine wichtigsten Aufgaben gute Software zu finden. Die meisten Programme scheine ich beisammen zu haben, jedoch fehlt mir noch etwas sehr wichtiges: die Verwaltung von Bildern. Dazu ist die Auswahl auch unter Linux relativ klein, so dass ich das KDE Programm KimDaBa verwende, obwohl ich sonst eher eine KDE-Antipathie habe.

Eine Suche bei versiontracker.com hat dafür noch keinen würdigen Ersatz unter Mac OS X hervorgebracht. Meine Anforderungen:
  • Verwaltung der Bilder auf dem Dateisystem.
  • Rotieren von Bildern (idealerweise so, dass die Originalbilder nicht verändert werden. KimDaBa speichert sich einfach den Rotationswinkel zum Dateinamen mit.)
  • Tags. Bei KimDaBa kann ich Gruppen definieren, welche bei mir lauten: People, Places, Countries und Keywords. Eine einzige Liste zur Eingabe von Tags reicht mir aber auch.
  • Slideshows und automatisches Generieren von HTML Gallerien wären ideal.

Flickr und ähnliche Dienste wären eigentlich genau das was ich suche, zumal man da ja Bilder auch von öffentlichen Zugriffen sperren kann. Jedoch möchte ich die Bilder nicht erst hochladen müssen (vor allem nicht zu Beginn mit x Gigabytes) und auch ist der Zugriff lokal ebenfalls einiges schneller. Auch passiert es mir immer wieder, dass ich mit dem Laptop irgendwo zu Besuch bin und spontan einige Bilder präsentieren möchte.

Wer hat eine Idee, wer kennt so etwas?