Don’t forget the attachment

November 17, 2010

I’m rarely wowed by UIs these days, but Gmail impressed me today. I was writing up an email, with the intent of attaching a document. Of course, by the time I finished writing the email, I had forgotten to actually attach the document. But Gmail informed me of this mistake when I pressed send:

I wonder if they can figure out a way to warn me even before I press send?

Time for a new keyboard

June 13, 2010

The keyboard is an absolutely fundamental piece of equipment for us software developers. I’ve always used stock keyboards, but my fingers are in need of a keyboard designed for intense and constant use. There have been plenty of web articles on choosing the right keyboard but I’m specifically interested in satisfying a few specific needs (listed in priority order):

  1. Minimal stress on my fingers. When I’m really going at it, my pinkies can end up soar, which ends up slowing me down. Not to mention I don’t want to end up with carpal tunnel!
  2. 1st class support for Mac. I want a keyboard designed to be used with a Mac.
  3. Can’t be distracting. I don’t mind a keyboard with a bit of noise, but it can’t be loud enough that it distracts me or those working around me.

The keyboards that appear to meet my criteria are unfortunately not physically available in any stores to try out, which makes it a bit difficult because they aren’t cheap! So I’m throwing the question out there to here about the keyboard that you love and use every day. Here are a few keyboards that I’m interested in:

Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard

Matias OS X Keyboard

Das Keyboard, Model S (silent)

What do you think?

WWDC 2010

June 6, 2010

(gorgeous photo courtesy of Adam Jackson)

WWDC 2010 is only a day away! Check out the sessions if you haven’t yet. There are a number of neat special events too. I’m looking forward to the lunchtime talk “Making Movies is Hard Fun — Building Tools for Telling Stories” by Michael Johnson of Pixar — I love those Pixar movies! I’ll be giving a talk on Friday, and staffing a couple of labs — if you’re planning on attending, be sure and stop by!

JavaFX Menus

May 13, 2010

I knew those JavaFX menus looked familiar!

So I was plodding along in my quest to learn Objective-C, and I ran into a compile error that I just didn’t understand. My code looked something like this:

switch(foo) {
   case bar:
        NSString *message = @"Hello there.";

which yielded a compiler error like this:

unexpected interface name 'NSString': expected expression
             NSString *message = @Hello there.";

To a Java programmer, there doesn’t look to be anything wrong. But Objective-C, birthed from C, is a different beast. My first inclination was to fire up Google, and pose the first question that came to my mind:

And here were the results I was given:

The first result was the same question I was asking, with an answer on Stack Overflow!

Stack Overflow went into public beta in September of 2008 (I got the answer for this question by asking “how old is stackoverflow” on Meta Stack Overflow) — that’s not very long ago. What a game changer (not to mention a time saver) Stack Overflow has become.

1Password is indispensable

December 14, 2009

1Password is an absolutely indispensable tool. My family is currently in the process of moving, so we had to pack up all our paper work. I needed a way to securely store my account numbers, logins and serial numbers so that I would have access to that info during the move — I went searching for a tool. 1Password was by far the front runner in my search. It is the most polished of the apps I came across, it is super secure and they’ve just released a fresh 3.0 version.

1Password wouldn’t be of much use if you couldn’t access your info from any computer with zero configuration. Fortunately, they integrate perfectly with Dropbox, so setting up 1Password on all your computers to point to the same data is a cinch.

In the Getting Things Done ethos, 1Password will help you get your info out of your head and into a secure tool. You’ll never have to click an “I forgot my password” link again!

Heading to Apple

December 4, 2009

Big news! I’ve accepted a job at Apple and will be starting there on Monday, December 7th, 2009. This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity and I am very much looking forward to contributing to the Mac platform. I don’t yet know what this will mean for Mac Widgets for Java or this blog, but I’ll keep you posted.