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Blog archives for August 2007

Vienna improves Pukka support

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Vienna icon

Last week, the Vienna development team accepted my patch to improve Vienna's support for Pukka. Now, when you pass an RSS item from Pukka to Vienna, any highlighted text in the body of the item is passed as the description for Pukka.

I believe that this is still a prerelease version of Vienna, as the main website still has an older version, but updates have appeared on the MacUpdate profile page. You can grab the latest Vienna there and give it a spin!

YouTube series: Ask EWG

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While I'm on the topic of shout outs, I wanted to mention a cool thing that one of my clients is doing right now. The Environmental Working Group here in DC routinely answers environmentally-related concerns and questions posed by the public and has recently begun doing select answers in video form on YouTube. You can submit your questions here and subscribe to the video series here.

Check it out!

Pan-Mass Challenge update

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Just a note that Seth Dillingham (whom I blogged about before) has begun his actual software auctions on eBay. These are bundles of quality Mac software (including Pukka) valued at over $1,000 each but currently bidding at under $200. All proceeds benefit the Pan-Mass Challenge and the auctions end in the next few days, so check them out!

Pukka 1.6.1: Vienna bugfix

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I've just released a minor bugfix to Pukka, version 1.6.1. This version fixes a bug that would prevent the Vienna RSS reader from passing items properly. Grab it now!

As a side note, the behavior among Pukka's supported RSS readers is slightly different when it comes to the RSS item text passed as Pukka's description:

  • NetNewsWire passes any selected body text as the description. If nothing is selected, the whole body is passed (subject to automatic truncating down to the maximum of 255 characters, which you can read more about in this post).
  • NewsFire passes the whole item body every time, regardless of selection (subject to the same truncation).
  • Vienna passes an empty body every time, regardless of selection.

I will be contacting the authors of NewsFire and Vienna to see if they can possibly work with the text selection for a more consistent experience, but for now, that's the story!


Update: I've just submitted a patch to the Vienna development mailing list that should fix the above behavior and pass along any selected article text as Pukka's description. If you're impatient and you happen to build and run the latest Vienna from source, this patch will get you that behavior now!

C4's well that ends well

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I just last night got back from Jonathan "Wolf" Rentzsch's now-annual C4 Mac indie developer conference in Chicago and once again, it was time and money well spent. The conference has been hugely motivating to me as a concentration of extremely bright people in close proximity, feeding off of each others' ideas and energy. In fact, last year's first iteration of the conference was the motivating factor in me finally striking out on my own, which I did within the next couple weeks.

Though less so than last year, C4 was again all hallway. I only say 'less so' because we had the convenience of everything being in proximity rather than last year's Plan 'L'. Regardless, as Wolf said last year, "I often get more out of connecting with individuals than listening to a session." The same is true for me, and this year I had the pleasure of meeting up with old friends and meeting new ones. One of the bits of advice, which I'm going to try to apply to future conferences, was to sit with someone new every time you had the chance. I tended to do this by finding a table all my myself at meals and letting the people come to me, rather than seeking out people I knew and sitting with them. It worked out and I met or got to know better several people, including Philippe Casgrain, Manton Reece, Jeff Czerniak, Jonathan Wight, Christopher Bowns, Marko Karppinen, Alex Payne, our illustrious A/V guy Pat Hughes, and many other bright people.

I'm sure there will be many summaries of this year's event, but one thing that I wanted to document is, I think, rather symbolic of the spirit of the event. During Sunday's Iron Coder Live hacking contest, Craig Hockenberry of the Iconfactory demonstrated his cool hack to do 2D and 3D plots on the iPhone. He also explained an error message that he received in JavaScript containing hexadecimal gibberish. Of course, being Craig (who else would notice this?), he recognized the beginning of the text as a PNG image header, so he copied it out, pasted it into a file, and opened it as a PNG. The result was this:

A hidden, cryptic image on the iPhone
Craig's image (click to enlarge)

Closing out his hack presentation, he made the URL for the image available and invited the attendees to race to decode it, if they could.

This particularly appealed to me, as I recognized instantly that the coded language was the Futurama TV cartoon's alien alphabet. I found a decoder and got to work.

Several of us arrived at the translation pretty quickly, though I have to admit that I think I may have been first, at least in posting it to the C4 Twitter backchannel. The others were Philippe Casgrain of Corel and (I think) Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba. I hastily decoded and mistook "power" for "poker" and Philippe missed the number "50" (maybe Paul got it completely right?), but the resulting message turned out to be:

Enough RDF power
to influence geeks
up to 50 meters.
Leaking of information
punishable by death.

Steve Jobs'
personal aura
harnessed for

Now that's just pretty awesome. This whole hack was representative of the weekend: Code, Culture, Community, Conspiracy -- C4's expanded title -- and represents why I'll be back again and again to the best of my ability.

Thanks again to all of the attendees and I look forward to reading your summaries (I'll leave the panel reviews to the real bloggers) as well as to seeing you all again next year!

Update: I should also link to Mike Zornek's C4 retrospective, which really nails it on the head, particularly on most of the session summaries and Saturday night's, uh, interesting panel.

Pukka 1.6 released: status bar menu and Spotlight!

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I'm pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of Pukka 1.6. Pukka now features a new, optional menu in the status bar for quick access to your accounts, tags, and bookmarks, as well as full Spotlight support.

The status bar item contains a menu similar to Pukka's dock menu:

Pukka's new status bar item

What's more, both this menu and the dock menu have been optimized so that even users with thousands of tags and bookmarks will have speedy access to them without delay.

Pukka also now features Spotlight support for fast searching of your bookmarks from your desktop. All fields are indexed, including URL, title, description, tags, author, and post date. Opening a bookmark opens it in your favorite browser, just like any other bookmarks on your Mac.

Spotlight support in Pukka
Spotlight support (click to zoom)

There are also a few tweaks, namely improved Leopard support, verification of account deletions, and correction of some minor user interface issues.

So what are you waiting for? Go get Pukka now and take it for a spin!

Pukka and the Pan-Mass Challenge

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Code Sorcery Workshop is proud to help support Seth Dillingham of Mystic, CT, in his participation in the Pan-Mass Challenge. Seth will be cycling 192 miles across Massachusetts (not to mention an extra 100 miles the day before to get to the starting line, just for fun) to raise money for cancer research and treatment for the Jimmy Fund. The ride will take place August 3-5 and Seth will be holding software auctions of popular, donated Mac titles in order to meet his goal of raising $6,600. We're donating five licenses for Pukka to help out.

You can read more about the auctions, which are scheduled to start today, on Seth's blog. You can check out the full list of donated software as well.

Good luck Seth!