Thursday, December 21, 2006

OmniGroup support replied to OmniPlan feedback

When posting the OmniPlan 1.0 feedback, I also sent this feedback to the OmniGroup support team, in 2 e-mails.

To both e-mails, they replied within a day!
  • Some of my items had immediately been translated to feature requests.
  • Spell checking is already planned for the next release, OmniPlan 1.1.
  • Printing can be configured by selecting "OmniPlan" in the drop-down box.
  • On other items I was asked for elaboration.
All my feedback was taken seriously, instantly. I have just one word for the support I received from OmniGroup so far: fabulous.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some more OmniPlan feedback

Some more suggestions regarding OmniPlan 1.0:
  • Provide some visual (or audio-) feedback when saving a file. When I press Cmd-S, there is no reaction from the program whatsoever. It makes me wonder whether I pressed the right key combo.
Regarding printing:
  • When I press Cmd-P, I expect the Print dialog to display instantly. Instead, I have to wait about 10 seconds.
  • When printing a document, I would like to be able to configure what to print, e.g. the task list.
  • When printing a document, I expect would like to be able to configure printing options on the thing I'm printing. E.g. do not print efforts, only task names, but do print start and end dates and assigned resources.
  • The quality of print output is suboptimal. E.g. there are page breaks in the middle of lines of text.
  • It would be nice to be able to configure page numbers on prints.

OmniPlan 1.0

Just purchased OmniPlan 1.0, a project management application for Mac OS X. Works like a charm. It's a really intuitive application, allowing me to use the keyboard for most if not all tasks I need to perform.

However, of course I can produce a little wishlist of things I'd like to see improved:
  • When I navigate with the keyboard to a task that has no description or range explicitly set, I'd like to be able to remove such an empty task with Backspace, just a single key press.
    However, since the text in the item (e.g. "Task 1") is not selected, I have to: (a) select all text, (b) Backspace to delete this text and (c) Backspace again to delete the task.
  • In the Resource View, it is not possible to select a range of tasks by clicking on the first one and then Shift-clicking on the last one. This is tedious when I want to process a lot of tasks in the same go.
  • I'd like to be able to mark items somehow, for example with a color coding. This allows me to easily see which items I've double-checked or for which items I still need to enter the depencies, make sure the dependencies are of the right type, or enter the efforts (durations).
  • It would be nice if a task could be promoted to a group.
  • An option to automatically delete empty tasks.
  • Spell checking is missing, it seems. It should be fairly easy to integrate with the Mac OS X system spell checking service.
  • Support for the Dutch locale would be nice.
  • Integration with the Leopard task system would be nice, when Leopard comes out.
But as I said, overall it's a great program!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Adobe Photoshop CS2 installation

I need an image edit program. On Linux I used GIMP, which is quite powerful and nice to work with. On Mac OS X, however, GIMP is not so easy to install and does not integrate with the Mac OS very well. I used DarwinPorts, which automates the fetching, compilation and installation and even the dependency handling.
The fact that GIMP is not integrated with the Mac made me look at alternatives. I could not find a lot of image editing programs for the Mac, which surprises me. It's probably my lack of search abilities.
Anyway, the obvious alternative is Adobe Photoshop. The current version is CS2, 9.0. At almost 400 MB, the download is fairly big. One of the first things it asked me is whether it's OK to look for updates. I said OK. I didn't expect any, since I just downloaded it and I would expect all the download to contain all current updates. However, it still proposed installing about a dozen updates.
That's OK as well. But then during the update installation process, I was asked for my password about 6 times. That's just plain annoying.
Any tips on alternative image edit programs for the Apple, let me know.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

RealPlayer on Mac


Just been trying RealPlayer 10.1.0 on the Mac, to play a webcast. Works quite well. Some things I found:
  • If I interrupt the internet connection I get a warning. Then when I re-enable the internet connection, the playback stops after a few seconds, then I get a warning indicating there was a time-out. When I reconnect to the internet, nothing happens. When I press the play button, it restarts playing the webcast at the beginning. However, it has an indicator that shows where I left off. Almost perfect.
Funny, but unrelated: In the JavaOne 2006 keynote webcast, the URL http://open-esb.java.net/ is mentioned. However, this URL does not exist. Instead, the Open ESB project can be found at http://open-esb.dev.java.net/.

Minor QuickTime annoyances

If you read previous of my posts, you must have concluded I seem to enjoy listing (minor) issues I find in applications. Somehow I indeed do. I'd like to report these issues to their creators, but then this typically costs a lot of time and effort. Just listing stuff on your blog is easier and then you can still use that information later to submit some issues later on.
Here's some feedback on QuickTime issues:
  • When I right-click in a QuickTime area on a web page, then I get a number of options in a context menu. However, if I want to choose none of the options, there's no way to get rid of the context menu. It seems I have to click one option. Even worse, even if I move to a different tab, the context menu does not go away and still shows up on the other tabs.
  • When a QuickTime movie is not completely loaded (yet) but still starts playing and then gets to the end of the already loaded content, it restarts at the beginning of the clip. That's plain annoying.
  • When the loading of a movie does not seem to progress, for example after the internet connection has been disrupted, there's no abvious way to see whether it is still loading and no obvious way to make it continue the loading without restarting.
  • With a paused QuickTime movie on a web page, scrolling makes the movie appear and disappear, showing the background behind the movie instead of the movie itself.
  • A movie cannot be saved until it is fully loaded.
  • The plugin context menu has two similar items: Save as source and Save as QuickTime-movie. Both save as a file with the .mov extension. The difference is not obvious at first glance.
This is QuickTime (Pro) 7.1.3 with the QuickTime Plug-in 7.1.3 on Firefox 2.0.

Firefox on Mac OS X

I've been running Mozilla Firefox 2.0 on Mac OS X 10.4.8 for a couple of weeks now. Overall it works quite well, but there's a couple of issues:
  • It requires a forced stop on a regular basis (like once a day).
  • When searching (Cmd-F), the back key combo (Cmd-LeftArrow) does not work anymore.
  • When editing a text field in Blogger Beta, switching to a different tab keeps the blinking cursor visible.
Still I prefer using Firefox over Safari. One of the reasons is that in Safari, the Blogger Beta post edit screen does not properly show the icons (bold, italic, etc.) properly.

Combining XINS and SWF?

While listening to a Java Posse podcast episode 91, Spring Web Flow (SWF) was mentioned. SWF apparently integrates not only with Spring MVC, but also with Struts, JSF and Portlets. Makes me wonder whether I can use it in combination with XINS as well.

I like XINS a lot, but the support for web applications (the so called XINS Front-end Framework) lacks some features I will want to see, such as:
  • externalized interaction design
  • resource-style URLs, e.g. http://host/answers instead of http://host/?command=Answers
  • separated configuration file, so the standard runtime configuration file does not get cluttered
To be investigated...

Left Orange

On Thursday (November 30th) I left the company I worked for, Orange Nederland Breedband, former Wanadoo NL. I worked there for about five and a half years. It feels really weird.

My time at this company has been great. I learned a lot and enjoyed working with the people there. The people at the technical departments are smart but above all very friendly. The atmosphere is great. Overall I've really experienced my time there as a blessing from God.

At the goodbye party they organized, I received several very nice presents, including an Apple iPod Nano. Its a really nifty little MP3 player. But it already crashed on me once. The screen just froze.

Some things I'm wondering about, regarding the iPod:
  • The device has a built-in speaker. Is it possible to use it to play audio?
  • Is it possible to play video (podcasts) on the display?
  • Can it fast forward a bit faster? If I want to start listening at 24 minutes in the podcast, it takes me ages to get there with the fast forward button.
One of the consequences of my leave is that I lose my commit rights on XINS. But I'm sure I'll remain involved.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

XINS 1.5.0 released

Last week, XINS 1.5.0 was released. Since, some bugs have been discovered. All found bugs have been resolved as well. The bugfixes will be released as part of the upcoming XINS 1.5.1, which is currently under development. Expected release date is January, 2007.
At the same time, work on XINS 2.0 is starting. First committed changes is the removal of some deprecated class members. Surprisingly, some deprecated members have been unmarked, so as of XINS 2.0.0 they are no longer considered deprecated.

iTerm experience

After using iTerm build 0.9.3.1120 for a few days, here is a summary of my experience:
  • Overall, it works really well, it's a professional application, comparable to Konsole on KDE.
  • When you move a tab, then the shortcut remains the same. It would be nice if this behaviour would be configurable.
  • When hovering the mouse pointer over a tab, the mouse cursor is for text editing. This is probably a minor bug.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More improvement suggestions for Keynote

Last week I already posted some suggested improvements for Keynote. Here's some more:
  • OpenDocument support, so files from OpenOffice.org Impress can be imported and exported.
  • On iDVD support: Export interactive sheets to DVD menus. Currently you can only export video, the interactivity is lost.
Still, I haven't seen any program that allows me to create stunning presentations with just a small set of powerful tools. Keynote beats Powerpoint and OpenOffice Impress hands tied to the back...

Friday, November 24, 2006

iTerm rocks!

A colleague pointed me at iTerm at http://iterm.sourceforge.net/. It rocks. Improvements over the standard Mac Terminal application include:
  • Ctrl-D closes the window.
  • Tabs.
  • Stored sessions.
  • Selection is automatically copied to the clipboard (configuration setting).
  • Middle button paste (configuration setting).
Very nice indeed!

Minor Mac Mail annoyances

Overall, the Mail program on the Mac is simple and intuitive. But after searching intensively, I found one thing I think could be improved:
  • When replying to a message I wrote, I would expect the To: and CC: fields to remain the same. Instead, all the addresses in there are moved to the CC: field and the To: field is set to the original author (me).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

MacOS Terminal not as good as KDE Konsole

While the Mac OS/X built-in Terminal application (v1.5) looks very well and works OK on the surface, it's nowhere near as productivity-enhancing as the terminal emulator I'm used to, Konsole.

Some of the things I'm missing or disliking in Terminal most are:
  • When double-clicking on text, slashes are considered separators, so that one can never select a qualified file name, such as /home/ernst/.vimrc.
  • When you start typing, the selection is lost.
  • Support for tabs.
  • No drop-down with a configurable list of sessions, both local and remote.

Converted to Apple

About 2 weeks ago, I got converted. I now use a Mac. Before that I primarily used Windows and Linux. I'll probably keep using Linux, but Mac OS/X is a perfect replacement for WinXP. Although most things work perfectly fine, I run into smallish issues all the time. Some of my findings are below.

My configuration: MacBook Pro 15.4", Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz, 2 GB RAM, Mac OS/X 10.4.8 (Tiger).

Finder:
  • When scrolling in a folder with a lot of icons, when I press and hold the scroll button in the scroll bar, then the images look distorted. When I release it, the view is corrected.

Mail 2.1.1:
  • Have a simple keyboard shortcut for sending the current message. For example Command-Enter.
  • Send attachments in Windows-compatible format by default.
  • When editing the "To:" field for a new message, I would expect the automatic completion not to propose addressees that are already in the To:, CC: or BCC: fields (nor perhaps in the From: or Reply-To: fields).
  • The End key (in fact Fn-RightArrow) does not go to the end of the line, but to the end of the message. Perhaps this is not a bug, but it is confusing and annoying, since other applications do interpret go to the end of the line.
Dashboard
  • Dashboard should not take so much time to display information the first time you start it up since the system boot. For example by remembering information it retrieved previously.

Sticky notes
  • Support the mouse scroll function.

Screen saver
  • Sometimes the following happens. The screen saver runs. I move the mouse, enter my password, it is accepted and MacOS is showing. Then within a couple of seconds the screen saver activates itself again. And I have to enter my password again. This time it doesn't reactivate the screen saver immediately.
  • When exiting the screensaver, the normal screen quickly flashes. I would not expect this to be visible at all.

General Mac OS/X
  • Different applications have different mouse cursors, especially for the wait cursor. This is inconsistent and consequently annoying and confusing.

Expose
  • When enabling Expose, then the magic window corner for the screen saver does not work anymore, so I have to exit Expose first.

Keynote 3.0.2:
  • When editing a text field, allow the use of a keyboard shortcut to exit the text field. Preferably Esc.
  • When editing a text field, allow the use of PgDn and PgUp to move one page down or up.
  • In a text field, allow the use of Home (Fn-LeftArrow on a MacBook Pro C2D) to go to the beginning of a line. And allow the use of End (Fn-RightArrow) to go to the end of the line.
  • In the small Info window, in the Link tab, remove the checkbox (Activate as link). Instead, just have an additional option in the dropdown box that indicates there is no link, e.g. "None". This simplifies the user interface.
  • Reflections are a very nice effect. However, they ought to be supported on normal shapes (circles, etc.) as well.
  • Export to Flash currently changes dotted lines to straight lines, though the shadow is still of a dotted line. Looks like a bug.
  • Export to Flash currently does not support sheet transformations. This would be nice to have.
  • Exported Flash file should support going back to the previous slide, somehow. For example using Backspace, PgUp and Command-LeftArrow.
  • When I start Keynote, or just switch to it while I have no document open, then it automatically creates a new document based on the default theme. I would like to be able to disable this. I find it confusing and counterproductive, because it makes me have to close that window again.
  • Text cannot be copied from a normal sheet to a template sheet. It may be a bug.