Wow, I’ve been gone a while I guess. I’ve been playing a lot of golf this summer ( Got my handicap index down to 15.9) and playing around with Basic programming on those especially hot afternoons. Yes, I said BASIC! I’ve looked at several variants such as SmallBasic from Microsoft (based on .NET), Chipmunk Basic for the Mac. To get a variant of Basic that runs across multiple platforms ( Unix, Mac, Windows) would cost some money. I settled on a variant of the language called “FreeBasic” (only runs on Windows) which uses the old QBasic language as a start. I’ve looked at a couple of IDE (Interactive Development Environment) tools and I’ve settled on “Firefly3 for FreeBasic”. Both FreeBasic and Firefly3 are free. The IDE provides a simple forms based editor with “code behind” functionality. It makes using the Windows API so much easier by generating the necessary API code as well as providing functions that add a layer of abstraction making it much easier. If you are familiar with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Basic then you’ll get the jist of Firefly3 and you don’t have the huge overhead and footprint of the .Net libraries. I’m still playing around with these tools and will soon embark on a test to see how easy it is to develop a windows based interface to a SQLITE3 database. This should prove to be entertaining if not interesting.
This is ecto. It is considerably less expensive than MarsEdit coming in at $17.95. It downloads and installs easily as a zipped distribution. During installation you are prompted to specify your blog site platform which can be selected from an extensive list.
Using “Import Media” is a little cleaner than “Media MAnager” found in MarsEdit. The photo below was resized, border added and padding implemented with the tool before insert. Re-edits were done easily by selecting and double clicking on the photo to bring up the tool again. You can drag the image around to place it but that seems to break the ability to select and re-edit the photo. It’s not obvious how to align text with images. There is some alignment options under the “Format” menu item that will effect images as seen below to center the photo.
To preview the draft post you have to go to the “Draft” menu item and select “Preview” or use the “command R” shortcut. There is a view in browser option under the “Weblog” menu item but that assumes that the post is on the blog site already. The preview in MarEdit really did not reflect how the post looked and I won’t know for sure about this tool until I publish it. One thing i did notice about the preview is if you leave it active while editing the post your changes will automatically appear in the preview. That’s pretty cool!
It has a cool “Restore Revision” option found under the Edit menu item. It keeps a list of date/time stamped revisions you can select and restore back if needed. I don’t know how far back it keeps.
I did crash the application while trying to delete an “untitled” post from the post list but it allowed very graceful restart and got me back to where I wanted to be. To delete the post I simply closed the edit as it had not been saved anyway. The crash was a result of trying to delete a post not previously saved. That’s a bug in my opinion as it should be more graceful than that!
I like the fact that you can switch back and forth between the rich text editor and the HTML editor while working on a post.
So all in all this looks like a promising tool for the Mac desktop. Let’s publish this and see how it looks for real!
I’m a little bored today after grinding through a couple of days of Objective-C tutorials. I’m probably more brain dead than bored. Why am I doing Objective-C? That is a very good question! But maybe that will be undertaken in a post on another day. I wanted to see what weblog tools were available for the Mac desktop and ran across MarsEdit today. I’ve installed the 30 day free trial ( it costs $40!!) and I am writing this post with it. I’ve fidgeted with the Media Manager tool which is not really very intuitive.
Here is a photo of my golf clubs, naturally, I’ve inserted with the editor. It took awhile to figure out how to resize it to look better and after a bit of looking I found where I can adjust the alignment so it shows up on the left of this text.
I’m not seeing anything earth shattering that shows this to be as good a tool as Windows Live Writer not to speak of being better. But It’s for the Mac desk top. At $40 it’s not a bargain so I’ll check out other open source tools as well. In the mean time, I won’t be getting rid of my Windows 7 machine just yet. Although, having said that, when I finally break down and buy an iPad, there are several reasonable priced weblog tools that may come close to the functionality of the Windows tool.
So, until next time…………
With the weather being very anti-golf , I’ve been writing quite a bit lately although nothing that I would consider publishable. Matt’s recent blog, Poetry is code, really got the juices flowing. I haven’t decided what kind of writer I want to be although I think I’m leaning towards becoming an essayist. My inspiration towards essays comes from Scott Berkun. The short essay seems to be a good starting medium to practice documenting my opinions, how to do its, and whatever seems to strike my fancy.
I’ve started about 5 “notes” documents that are centered around subjects and as I bang in thoughts and other such things, hopefully an essay or two will evolve. In the meantime, I do write every day and I am finding it enjoyable.
I’m posting this using the WordPress app for iPhone. Thought I’d try it out while waiting for the golf tournament to show up on tv. Looks fairly interesting as a quick posting tool though I would not want to write a prolonged post with it. Here is a bold test.
Here is an italicize test.
Block quite test.
Well – Happy New Year albeit a month late! I guess I’ve procrastinated
enough. I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to do this year and I believe my primary goal is to clear out the clutter of things rattling around in my mind and settle on just a few. This past year I’ve been slightly overwhelming myself with staying up with the rapidly changing web technology world, practicing web application development for desktop and smart phone devices, practicing and playing golf, a little bit of blogging, reading and trying to keep myself fit by walking more. I’m finding that this is too much stuff and I’m not really doing anything any justice or doing them well. So frustration is happening more than enjoyment.
I want to take some time this year and see if I can develop a deeper interest in digital photography. I’ve done a little bit but I think I need to give this idea a better focus (pardon the pun). Besides, there are some cool toys you can get to help support a photographer’s habit. My idea is to concentrate on landscape and wildlife (not to mean my grandchildren) as subjects to study. A very good friend of mine is a “birder” and has inspired me and he has a good collection of his photos on Flickr here.
My son David is fond of saying “Write a book.” if you’re bored. While writing a book seemed like a daunting exercise not to speak of the fact I would not know how to start, writing daily might possibly evolve into something more. One of the “getting started” techniques I’ve seen suggested is to write every day. So, I’ll be practicing my verbosity – if that’s really a word – each day. But writing each day does not necessarily mean publish each day. There’s this idea of re-visiting the work for editing purposes so I’ll strive to publish about twice a week. Besides, I need to give time to review and digest the literally tens of comments I’m sure my posts will be generating.
I have to get my walking into a consistent habit. Lately, I’ve abandoned the “iron maiden” (my name for the treadmill) in favor of outside walks in the neighboring parks and streets. And, beginning this past fall and into this winter, I walk the golf courses I play. It’s hard to beat a nice day walking with Jimmy Buffet or Dire Straits playing on Pandora. And even if Mark Twain has said that golf is a “good walk spoiled”, you just can’t beat a gorgeous, God-given beautiful day on the golf course. I suppose for those not so nice days I’ll need to fire up the “iron maiden” and take a cruise.
I enjoyed putting this piece together especially selecting the cartoons that related to the thought. There might be something to this writing thing after all!
If you have been to theMaygrove recently you have seen the infamous “Under Re-Design” info message instead of the original site. That’s because I want to re-do this site using more open technology versus using a tool such as iWeb (which appears to have been ignored by Apple). The only active part of the site is a link to my blog. I’m not exactly sure what this will turn out to be. I’m not in any particular rush to complete it as most of my computing time is involved with studying emerging web technologies surrounding web applications and gaming. The site may become a portal providing access to my published applications and games. I’ll think more about this as I get closer.
I’ve been fidgeting over this decision for some time now though I’m not really pressed to do it quickly – yet. So far, I’ve been able to repurpose my old laptops – the Dell Inspiron 6000, over 10 years old, is now running Ubuntu Server and is my web server development platform. My Dell Inspiron 6400 is over 8 years old and I’ve added memory and upgraded the OS to Windows 7 Pro. While I’m not what you might call a heavy-duty power user, I do dabble in web development using code editors on Windows to develop and deploy web sites and applications. The rest of my typical uses are reading email, browsing the web for interesting content and connecting to my admiring public through this blog and Facebook. Those seem to be activities suited to the iPad platform. There is even web development software for the iPad. Printing would be an issue requiring a new wireless network printer that would support Airprint, the Apple wireless print protocol used by iPad and iPhone.
Since I have already ventured down the road of including Apple devices ( iMac, MacBook and 3 iPhones) on the Maygrove intranet, it seems natural to consider the iPad as a replacement device especially if the iPad3 ( out sometime next year) is even more powerful.
Here is an article that I found quite interesting as it offers some confirmation that I’m not entirely nuts.
I never really thought of myself as a “creative”, a term I’ve learned from my wonderfully creative daughter-in-law Anna. In my professional life I tended to dive into the “plumbing” (program code and infrastructure) and come up with resolutions to problems or implementing tools and techniques to gain advantage in opportunities.
In my retirement I have been working towards becoming a creative person in the things I have chosen to do. But, I did not really understand what that meant. I thought it was mostly how to design and build a cool user interface for a web site or application or compose and take a breath taking digital photograph.
After reading “The Core of Retirement Creativity” from the blog “Satisfying Retirement” though, I have a different perspective. Before, I felt that creativity required an artsy persona and did not realize that, as the article discusses, curiosity, risk taking, openness, energy of passion and optimism drive the “creative”. If I take another look at things, such as my golf habit, I see that I can be quite the “creative” albeit not too successful at times. I’ve always enjoyed learning new technology and now realize that that curiosity is driving new inspiration. Who knows? Maybe I’ll build the next “Angry Birds”!