Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2013

#baddesign or #worksjustfine: The many functions of the cmd + R shortcut (Mac OS X)

There are two types of people: (1) the shortcut whizz and (2) the methodical menu manipulator. In between we have the average Joe who probably uses a combination of the help search bar and the limited range of shortcut keys they know almost as much as the menu system.

Shortcuts accelerate productivity, but shortcut keys are not consistent across apps. This makes sense, since there are only a limited number of keys, and combinations placed conveniently near each other, that are logical enough for the purpose.

For example cmd + R can do the following:

OpenOffice - align text right
Pages/Numbers - show/hide ruler(s)
Adobe Acrobat/Illustrator/InDesign/Photoshop - show/hide rulers
Safari/iTunes/Mac App Store - refresh page
Pixelmator - show/hide rulers
Preview - rotate current page
Mail - reply to message
Twitter - reply to selected message (if no message selected do nothing)
Kindle - sync to furthest page read
iPhoto - rotate selected image
Calculator  - enter RPN mode
iCal - refresh cal…

Three Steps to Syncing a Box Folder on your Mac or Windows Desktop

Having logged into your account on the Box website follow these three steps:

(1) Click on the cloud icon at the top of the browser window

(2) Select 'Official Box Apps' from righthand menu

(3) Choose Box Sync for Mac, Box Sync for Windows (or Box for Windows 8)

This will download the app for you to install and provide you with instructions to setup the folder syncing service.

Note: To uninstall Box Sync run the installer and select uninstall. If you encounter any problems with logging into the service, uninstalling and reinstalling can provide a solution.

Innovating in-app purchase

The system of in-app purchase is most often associated with buying your way through games. As a gamer this feels like cheating, as a parent it feels like an attempt to exploit me. The general consensus around the web appears to be that games should charge upfront rather than try and profit from children's demands on their parents to the tune of tens or even hundreds of pounds.

We parents still sweat that leaving in-app purchasing on in Settings might allow one-click spending, even now the process has changed. And sweat we probably should, since children often learn passwords and pin codes for the adult's convenience - when the demands to unlock this and update that become too frequent - and this can return to bite us.

Does this mean the whole system is doomed? Until recently my advice to developers would've been don't bother if you want to win the goodwill of parents and people in general. And still there is a niggle at the back of my head that a paid for app is a mor…

Pixelmator vs Photoshop (in brief)

Everyday tools The everyday tools are fairly similar, you have brushes, dodge, burn, sponge, sharpen and blur, and the ability to export and import PSD files that retain their layers and so on when opened in Photoshop.

Photoshop Filters vs Effects Browser Photoshop currently has 47 filters in its Filter Gallery and Pixelmator has 153 effects in its Effects Browser. The Pixelmator effects are by no means novelties, there are many great ideas here that are easy to use and control. But it must be pointed out that some of these are for uses that Photoshop places in other areas of its menu and window system, for example colour adjustment. (Note: in both instances these are "out of the box" numbers - you can add filters and effects to the apps.)

CMYK workflow You can softproof in Pixelmator using a number of profiles including CMYK ones, but as far as I can tell the only way to convert an image to a CMYK profile is to do so using Automator's 'Apply ColorSync Profile to Im…

How to get your code out there

codepad Share and run code in the following languages: C, C++, D, Haskell, Lua, OCaml, PHP, Perl, Plain Text, Python, Ruby, Scheme, Tcl.
codepen "CodePen is an HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code editor right in your browser with instant previews of the code you see and write. It’s great for showing off your work and seeing what amazing things other people are doing with the web."
coderbits Link accounts from 60+ sites like GitHub, Dribbble, Stack Overflow, and Code School. Coderwall Share code embedded in ProTips, which can be commented on and upvoted. Also a place to look for work and share job opportunities. GitHub Share your project in an organised way that allows you to keep track of changes to the code and allows others to collaborate, create forks and feedback. Google Code Project Hosting on Google Code provides a free collaborative development environment for open source projects.  jsFiddle The go to site for sharing JavaScript (and CoffeeScript), which includes many JS librari…

The mystery of the 2 GB nook's storage memory

Why does my nook Simple Touch (with GlowLight) only have 250 MB of book storage? It doesn't, it has 1GB (or 1,000 books worth of capacity). However, 750 MB (or 750 books) of storage is reserved for Barnes & Noble content. This leaves the reported 250 MB in the device settings for personal files, library books, and so on.

This information is stated in the nook's tech specs: "2 GB Holds up to 1,000 books (1 GB for content; 750 MB reserved for B&N content)."
How does this compare to Kindle and Kobo devices? The nook's 1 GB (or 1,000 MB) of storage capacity is slightly below the Kobo mini's 1345 MB and the Kindle Paperwhite's approximate 1250 MB, but it is the only one of these devices to have a microSD card slot for additional personal files.

Note: Kobo Glo, Touch and Aura do all feature a microSD card slot.
What can the microSD card slot be used for? The microSD card slot can be used for a card of up to 32GB in capacity used to store personal EPUB a…

Unhitching the book from the browser

In the days when Mobipocket and Microsoft Reader ruled the (somewhat small) roost, we didn't expect very much beyond what we saw in a text editor or word processor to appear on our screens when we read eBooks. Today things are different, we want engaging and interactive experiences, and the most obvious way to deliver these is with the open standards of the web.

However, not all devices will benefit from the cocktail of HTML, CSS and JavaScript of the modern eBook. A watch or a pair of glasses, for example, will be capable of little more than displaying the text in a limited range of fonts and sizes. This means that the majority of the code that contributes to the size of an eBook will be thrown out.

A speedier and more size efficient approach would be to not have all that code in there in the first place. In fact a great deal of HTML and CSS is devoted to compensating for inconsistencies in the way devices interpret HTML, CSS and JavaScript anyway.

It should also be observed tha…

Kodiak JavaScript for iPad

If you've already used Kodiak PHP then the layout of Kodiak JavaScript (currently £2.99 in the UK) will be instantly recognisable. The difference is that instead of running PHP this app has a collection of JavaScript libraries for you to utilise and explore.

As with the previous release from Play Ragtime, everything works offline and the results of your code can be previewed from inside the app. It is also worth noting that while the default within the app is to save files with the HTML extension and template, this doesn't prevent you from creating or importing JSON, JS, CSS, text files and anything else that works on the client-side.

Overall, the app has a very usable and flexible interface. It enables you to have multiple tabs open at the same time to work on a range of files easily and I also like the interoperability that is enabled by the ability to open files and folders in other apps using the "Open in..." functionality in iOS.

"Open in..." works par…

DVDs not playing in older Macs - it might be the deinterlacing

If you experience stuttering, out of sync audio, continuous skipping over damaged area warnings, etc. then try this:

In DVD player app select View from the top menu bar and hover over the Deinterlace submenu then click to Disable Deinterlacing.
While recent Macs can handle running the deinterlacing, I've experience with Macs that are four or five years old where the deinterlacing stops them from playing DVDs properly.

For those who want better results than can be achieved from simply disabling deinterlacing try the other settings - Better Quality and Good Quality - from the Deinterlace submenu.


Quark DesignPad for iPad (in an Adobe world)

My first thoughts on opening the app were: 'this is crazy, it's too fiddly to ever be worthwhile', 'there's no multipage functionality' and 'there's no character or even paragraph level formatting, only box level formatting', and then, 'Quark don't get the iPad'. But I've melted a little bit and went so far as to make the in-app purchase for the functionality to export PDFs to Dropbox (and email) today following notification of promotional pricing.

First things first, this isn't going to replace InDesign, it's more likely to be a place to sketch out the type of files you'd put together in Illustrator, which up to now I've used TouchDraw, iDraw and other similar apps to perform.

Given that iDraw notably includes local formatting of text box content, along with the ability to set margins, import fonts and export in a number of formats including PDF and SVG, it has to be asked what the more fiddly DesignPad brings to th…

How to transfer your InDesign Find/Change queries to a new version of InDesign (OS X)

If you've a range of Find/Change queries in an old version of InDesign that are no longer showing up in the dropdown menu of the Find/Change dialogue box of your new version then this is how you import them into the new version of InDesign:

(1) In Finder select the Go menu from the top menu bar with your cursor
(2) With the Go menu displayed hold down the Alt (Option) key
(3) A 'Library' option should now appear, which you need to select
(4) Now navigate to the Preferences folder in the newly opened Finder window and select the Adobe InDesign folder within this
(5) You'll now see a series of folders - e.g. Version 7.5, Version 8.0, Version 9.0
(6) If you are moving Find/Change queries from ID CS6 to CC, for example, you'll need to open Version 8 (CS6) and then select en_GB [or relevant language] followed by the Find-Change Queries folder at which point you will be faced with four folders:

Glyph
GREP
Object
Text

You can just drag these folders into the equivalent V…