Tower

Tower LogoOver the last few weeks I’ve tried out numerous Git UIs under OS X. Nothing even comes close to Tower, which I discovered yesterday. It actually feels like a Mac app, not a hacky port. Just look at these beautiful screenshots (inline comments are mine, not part of the application)…

Tower Screenshot 1
Tower Screenshot 2

Some features that I just love include:

  • List of all Git projects so you don’t have to dig around in Finder or Terminal looking for them. This is especially good since I will often make, say, a WordPress theme the root of my Git repository, but it’ll be nested under ~/htdocs/somedomain.com/wp-content/themes/theme_name.
  • The number of uncommitted files is easily visible from the Dashboard and the desktop (Launcher, Cmd-Tab) icon. This acts as a call-to-action and motivates me.
  • Extremely easy to add new repositories. No command-line required.
  • Easy access to Stash, a fantastic Git command which I didn’t even know about before trying Tower.
  • Pleasing to the eye. Yes, I know, this really shouldn’t be part of the criteria for a developer’s tool… but it is, and I like it.
  • Easy, easy, easy. I’ve learned more about Git just from poking around in the menu options than I did in weeks of looking up “how do I do X” on Google.

Tower is currently beta. I have no affiliation. I also have no idea how much it will cost when it’s released, but compared to the other offerings out there I don’t think they’ll have trouble selling it.

Did OS X 10.6.5 Break Finder?

Mac LogoIs that even right, or should it be OS X.6.5, since the X is obviously the roman numeral for 10, and saying OS X 10 is redundant?

Anywho, I am not a fan of Finder. In fact, it’s been one of the biggest thorns in my side since my “switch” to Mac over a year ago. It is sooo weak compared to Windows Explorer. It ties my hands more than Vista did, and doesn’t even give me jump-through-the-hoop solutions to untie them. But I use it because I have to. So imagine my surprise the other day when some things I’d downloaded weren’t showing up in their download folder. I checked the download history, and it all looked good. I went back to my Finder window that had the folder open in it, and the files just weren’t there. I opened a Terminal and did an ls, and there were the files! Why weren’t they showing up in Finder? So I navigated to a different directory then back again and lo and behold they magically appeared.

Hacker Cup

Hacker CupI don’t really know much about this (the page/FAQ is pretty sparse), but it seems cool. And there’s no entry cost. And you can use any environment/programming language to solve the problems. So I signed up for it. I’m sure I won’t make it past Round 1, but it seems like it’ll be fun, and I’ll get to flex my programming muscles. Anyway, stay tuned for updates. And any other programmers (professional or otherwise) that are reading this, you should sign up too.

This means you – Gene, Rob, Gregg, Conan and Chris!

You never know just how good you are until you put it to the test. Also, friendly competition is good for you.

Hacker Cup Facebook Page

Funcards

FuncardsA good friend of mine just released Funcards, his first iPhone app.

Thrill your infant or toddler with their very own personalized flash cards.

Funcards comes with two sample decks (letters of the English alphabet and numbers from 1-9) but the real magic is in making your own.

Here are some of the features in Funcards:

  • create as many decks of Funcards as you would like. No limit on the number of cards in each deck
  • use photos from your library or take them right from within Funcards using the camera on your device
  • record up to 2 different sounds for each card. For example, you could record the name of the animal and the sound they make, or their name in 2 different languages
  • share your Funcards by e-mail with other users
  • choose whether a deck should be kept in order (like numbers) or shuffled each time it is played
  • specially designed to keep little fingers from accidentally leaving Funcards (you need to touch two buttons at the same time to exit)

And a special quote from the developer himself…

Swiping left and right on my iPhone is one of the first fine motor skills that my boy learned (right after throwing my iPhone against the wall). He was a master of the swipe by the time he was a year old. Now he’s 19 months old and is already able to recognize and say many letters and numbers. We use Funcards to keep our extended family on the tip of his (giant) little brain and are coming up with new ideas for card decks all the time. It’s a blast.

Isn’t fast forwarding your child’s cognitive development worth $1.99? That’s rhetorical. It is. Buy it now!

Internet Ubiquity

RantWhen I was living in Toronto, Internet was ubiquitous. I was one of the first people in the city (probably the country) to have DSL (1 mb/s). That was around 1998/1999. I was also one of the first people to sign up for HSDPA, paying an exorbitant amount to have fast internet available on my phone (I think I was getting between 1-2 mb/s consistently). That was around 2007. These experiences led me to believe that the Internet was ubiquitous, and that in 2010 we don’t need to worry about not having an Internet connection.

Well, travel 180° around the globe (or to any developing nation really) and things change.