Stuff I've Been Looking At


On the hardware front, and although this year is supposed to be a "gadget-free year" as far as my budget is concerned, I've been following the e-book reader scene. Given that most of my recent activities involve reviewing (or reading, or keeping track of) bucketloads of documentation, and a laptop seems entirely too clunky for what is essentially a read-and-underline task, that kind of device is looking very appealing right now.

(Yes, yes, I'd love an Apple tablet, but let's keep this real, shall we?)

Tablet PCs are, by and large, overpriced, bloated and overly complex, the Sony/Reader is still impossible to get locally (and seems too crippled for my taste), but the iLiad seems pretty good indeed, and its newfound ability to sync with an SMB file share over Wi-Fi would make it very easy to keep up-to-date.

After clicking around for a few hours, it seems to be the best thing on its category right now, and worthy of consideration (even a mild form of gadget lust). However, at Eur.649 a pop, it's not exactly cheap, so I'll have to pass for now (unless there are some very kind people out there willing to give some away, which I find highly unlikely).

On the software front, Seashore 0.1.9 (which has been around for a month or so) is turning out to be a good general-purpose image editor, despite its GIMP ancestry and the lack of vector operations - which are the one feature I use extensively in the aging Fireworks version I keep about (and which runs acceptably under Rosetta, but only up to a point).

In retrospect, I think that I like it simply because they chucked out all the bad UI bits from GIMP, although the toolbars could do with a bit of slimming (they have very wide borders where a couple of pixels would have been just fine).

Since Inkscape still requires X11 to run on the Mac and Cenon (despite being utterly brilliant) is a bit too CAD-oriented, I'm still looking for a decent vector editor application for the Mac (before you mention it, I know about Xara, and it seems dead in the water). Right now, that means that OmniGraffle (which is doing Bezier curves now), is back on my WishList.

On the e-mail front, MailTags has recently had another public beta, and I've been fooling around with it to good effect. The only fault I can find is that my new sorting technique has made it somewhat less useful for me, since I no longer need to tag things for follow-up in the same way.

I might have a go at it for tagging archived mail, although I (again) wish the option to store tag information in text format was on by default. Still, it works fine with my feed classifier (which now also tags messages).

Last but not least, I've set up PyObjC 1.4 on my MacBook, and coded my very first NSStatusItem (actually, I think it's my second, but I'm not keeping track). Cocoa can be fun indeed, and even more so when using Python (although I admit having looked at this excellent set of RubyCocoa tutorials).

The only gripe I have with PyObjC (besides they still not having a setup package for Apple's standard Python 2.3) is that installing via MacPorts does not seem to add Xcode support - anyone out there have any idea why?


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