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Mac App Idea: Finder Bar Twitter

Here’s my idea for a little OS X application, Twitter in the Finder Bar (of course, I would call it something better than that :P). As I’ve illustrated in the following image, this application would display the most recent Twitter post from your friends (vertically scrolling when a new one comes in) in the OS X Finder Bar.

Finder Bar Twitter

Twitter is a service that is a perfect candidate to be condensed down into the Finder Bar’s small horizontal UI area. It’s out of the way enough to not add to clutter, but sitting right there for when you need it. Since Twitter’s content is made up of text no more than 140 characters in length, there’s really no need for an expansive UI.

To provide some interactivity, if the user clicks in the text area it turns into an input box, that is used to write a new Twitter update. For example, in this case I might click it and write a response to Todd: “@Todd Iron Man is great. Have fun!” hitting enter to post.

I came about this little idea since I really have no need for the relatively bulky Twitter GUIs that exist today. My Twitter needs are limited to seeing the latest update and being able to reply or add my own in a snap. The current available solutions have user interfaces that are far too involved for these simple operations, and take up too much screen real estate.

If anyone is, or knows anyone with the knowledge to bring this to life, and is interested in developing this small freeware app. Let me know.

Beautify Your iTunes Movie Collection

  • Posted in Apple
  • Comments 13

I’ve said it before, I’m a real stickler for organization. For some odd reason, my Music collection must contain only full albums, with correct covers and ID3 tags. I just can’t stand having anything out of place. Even with this sort of near-OCD, I’ve for the longest time had a mass of Movies and TV Series’ on my computer in various formats (DivX, XviD, etc) and various resolutions. All sorted only by filename.

Thankfully, I discovered that iTunes serves as a downright excellent means for managing all this (the Movies and TV Shows tabs aren’t for nothing). Sure, it would take some time to convert my collection from random formats to MP4, but with great tools like Stomp (beautiful icon and interface) and VisualHub (not-so-beautiful icon and interface), but the outcome definitely worth it.
I painstakingly (over many weeks) converted all my media to H.264 at an iPod classic-compatible 640px wide resolution and a relatively high bitrate, then using the wonderful MetaX filled out the futuristic meta-data of each file, giving my movies automatic gorgeous covers and other details.

iTunes Movie Meta

Finally, with a properly-sorted media library I can sleep soundly. Sure, it means when I download acquire new Movies and TV Shows I need to convert and tag them, but that only adds an extra few hours. It’s well worth it.

Internet Explorer 6 and 7 in OS X

When designing for the Web, one must be constantly mindful of the wide variety of Operating System/Browser combinations that are possible, and the varying results in rendering when it comes to these. If you’re a Mac user, you may find it difficult to debug your pages in Internet Explorer without having access to a Windows PC. Luckily, due to the recent move to Intel processors, Mac’s now have a whole bunch of different software solutions for Windows Virtualization, and recent improvements in this field offer even more seamless integration with OS X than ever before. One of the most popular applications for Windows Virtualization on the Mac is Crossover, which is based on WINE. While the premise of this app is great, it simply isn’t stable or reliable enough for repeated use.

VMWare Fusion

VMware Fusion has my support as the best Virtualization solution. You choose to either boot up a fully-fledged Windows XP or Vista installation, or just open single applications from the OS. The Windows applications are “unified” with OS X, and are displayed as standard independent windows within the Mac OS. For example, I’ve added icons for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 (both Vista and XP versions) in my Dock, clicking these opens the apps in their own windows, seemingly absent from Windows XP/Vista.

Sure, it’s probably not worth throwing out your XP/Vista test box just yet, but if OS X is your only available system, then this certainly will allow for some comprehensive testing across multiple platforms.

What the Flock?!

Today I paid a visit to the Flock Website, in hopes of checking up on how the little jack-of-all-networks browser’s development was coming along. The page that met my eyes left me in a state of puzzlement, shock and disbelief. I was half hoping that it was all some sort of elaborate joke, but alas, it’s all real.

It seems as though the powers that be decided that the “boring” old Flock page needed a facelift. What we see here folks is plastic surgery gone horribly, horribly wrong. These surgeons are clearly not qualified to be hacking and slashing at a once-beautiful Web entity.

Flocking Ugly

Thar she blows. The brand new Flock page. What a colossal disaster. And no, the extent of this apparent trainwreck isn’t just skin deep, oh no. The underlying markup looks like it was printed on A4 paper, shredded and pasted back together again.

To refresh our memories, here’s a screencap of the “old” Flock design. Skillfully hand-crafted by Bryan Veloso, it embodies the very essence of simplistic beauty. All that Flock stands… or stood for.

Flock

I, for one, have completely lost faith in the project. I was initially interested in seeing what kind of progress had been made with the browser, but now I just can’t bear to look at the thing.

Flock that!

An Update

After a lengthy conversation with Evan Hamilton, Flock’s Community Ambassador, I’ve made a discovery or two. It turns out that the new Flock design was actually contracted out to an external agency. Flock have since hired an in-house designer, who, according to Evan will be able to properly communicate their visual ambitions. Evan mentioned the difficulties that arise when contracting a design over a large geographical distance, and I fully understand.

I must say, I was very impressed with Evan’s response during our back-and-forth, he was wonderful to chat with, seemed to take notice of my criticism and suggestions, was not offended by this harsh article and just came across as genuine. Consider my faith in the Flock project restored.

Get Tube Icon Replacement

There’s a great little OS X Application called Get Tube that has proved itself amazingly useful and simple in performing it’s task. Just copy and paste the URL of a YouTube video (it also supports a couple of other video sites) and Get Tube will automatically download and convert it to either an MP4 (MPEG 4 video) or MP3.

Even though it’s a great program, I’m not too fond of its icon. So, I’ve come up with a simple little replacement icon, to fully justify this great app’s place on my dock.

Get Tube Icon Replacement

If you’re getting a little tired of the Get Tube icon, Download My Replacement. If you don’t have Get Tube, I highly recommend trying it out. (Note: It uses VLC for transcoding, so you need that too)

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