Forwarding Address: OS X

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Todd Dominey of What Do I Know has found a potential competitor to LaunchBar: QuickSilver.

Now being a dues-paying member of the Cult of LaunchBar™ I know this sounds like heresy. It might very well be. But the price to check out Quicksilver is very small. Free in fact, for now at least. The source isn't up yet, but it will be.

But the crazy bit is that this is supposedly just the beginning.

Quicksilver is an evolving structure for manipulating any form of data.

Regardless, it looks like LaunchBar is getting some competition.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I wanted to post a little bit about using Ogg Vorbis under OS X. Vorbis is a patent-free, open format with better quality-to-size ratios than MP3. I searched the archives (thanks to Steve's recent addition of the Google search box at left) and found that it's been almost two years since Chris's thorough post. It turns out that almost everything I wanted to mention is already in that post -- meaning, disappointingly, that there has not been a lot of movement with Vorbis and OS X in the past couple years. And we still don't have Vorbis encoding in iTunes, or Vorbis playback on the iPod.

So, what is new? There are some new players (e.g. Whamb). There are iPod alternatives that do play Vorbis files, most interesting among them being Neuros. Most of the software Chris mentions has seen updates. I also recently discovered tenc, which is rough but still makes ripping CDs less work than with Ogg Drop, and good enough to get me to temporarily abandon the oggenc wrapper I was working on. I've also exchanged some e-mail with the Ogg Drop developers, who are working on an exciting-sounding expansion of that app.


Sunday, March 14, 2004

Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks is a great book. I posted a longer review of it on my blog, but the bottom line is that the book is useful to many OS X users, not just Unix geeks.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Following on a post by Eric Raymond about the challenges of Linux printing (using CUPS), Jon Udell offers an interesting post about "Aunt Millie" "Aunt Tillie" (your typical and oft-forgotten non-technical computer user) and how she might fare with printing in OS X. His conclusion: there's still a bit of work to be done.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Warning: tangent. A few FA:OSX bloggers are also denizens of The Well, a 20-year-old virtual community based in San Francisco but with members around the world. I've been there for almost ten years myself. In fact, the Well's most excellent Mac conference is where I first heard news of this blog. It's also where I've exchanged information, tips, and frustrations about everything from emacs to Quark XPress to FileMaker Pro to With an active population of Unix as well as Mac experts, we've got some great cross-pollination going on. Katie Hafner's 1997 Wired mag article (all 20,000 words of it) famously dubbed the Well "the world's most influential online community" (as of 1997 at any rate). For a lighter take, see the somewhat more recent set of first-person stories in Salon. But you don't have to read any of that stuff to see what the Well is about, and now I am getting around to the point of this post. During March, they're running a special offer -- join for $2, check it out for two months, and stay if you like. It's full of sharp people (double meaning intended -- smart and spiny both) and interesting discussions. In an era where every teen haX0r has his own free PHP bulletin board, you may wonder why it would be worth paying $10-$15 per month to type at other people. This is a great way to find out. Link to more info on the special deal Discuss

Monday, March 01, 2004

Over on my blog I pointed out the reasons that, as a general rule, I tend not to bother checking out version 1.x software on MacUpdate. Quite honestly 1.x software tends to be lacking.

Happily there are exceptions to this rule and Curio is one of them. Thanks go to Adam for pointing me to it. Competitively it's in the same space as OmniGraffle with some notable differences. Where OmniGraffle is quite clearly designed for chart making Curio is designed for much more free-form, creative brainstorming. My perfect app would be the offspring of the two.

I've been corresponding with the developers a bit, mainly requesting features, and they've been great at accepting suggestions and offering pointers on how to use it. My only real complaint about Curio is the price. $99 is pretty steep, all things considered. I can't help but wonder if the developers are setting the price based on the amount of effort it took to create Curio rather than as a reflection of the total value it offers to the user.

That said, my experience with it and with the developers leaves me with little doubt that Curio will become an app worth $99 some day, I just hope it's sooner than later. If you're looking for a brainstorming/notetaking/designing app give Curio a look.


Mac-owning coders interested in the Palm platform should know about PRC-Tools for OS X. With this package you can do C/C++ Palm development in XCode. I haven't done much more than build a sample app, but it's pretty impressive. (Plus, the site design is pretty.) Discuss