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.