Collecting the Internet So You Don't Have To

We work on the Internet. As such, we are constantly consuming information. Believe me, there is a lot of it out there. Sometimes we even forget things unless we write them down. Our blog covers everything from web standards to the muppets, php to comic books, music and everything else that we find interesting. Leave us a note when you drop by.

FITC Road Show - Winnipeg 2007

General

FITC Winnipeg - Inspire. Educate. Challenge. Connect.

On Saturday, November 17th I had the pleasure of attending FITC (Flash in the Can) at the Ramada Marlborough Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Off all the other places this conference is held (Toronto, Chicago, Hollywood & Amsterdam) it landed in Winnipeg for yet another exciting year. It’s a unique event which has one track of presentations geared towards technical speakers and another track geared toward inspirational creative speakers.

"On the global stage, FITC stands as an original event company, and is recognized as one of the top in the industry. FITC has three goals within the Design and Technology space: to Inspire, to Educate, and to Challenge. This is accomplished by assembling the movers and shakers within the industry, and presenting them through presentations, panels, Q&A sessions, workshops, evening mixers and our awards show, all squeezed into very intense events." - FITC Website

The day began with registration at the door (along with spify Mediatemple lanyard for each person in attendance). I was surprised  at small number of booths (I think it should have been at least doubled), some of which included New Media Manitoba, IC Group, MTS, Assiniboine Community College and Critical Mass.

The crowd waited in anticipation for the start of the speaches with opening remarks given by Shawn Pucknell (Director of FITC). The first speach I attended, also a highlight of the day, was titled "Democraticizing Ideas" by Kerry James and Tim Scollick of Critical Mass. I thought that this was one of the more relevant speachs to what I do. They discussed the designer and developer relationship, talking about the problems that a designer ecounters with a developer (vica-versa). The bottom line that I got out the presentation was that if you are a designer then it’s important to have a good idea of what a developers job entails, what challenges it presents and how can you create a great design to meet technical requirements. And if you are a developer then it’s important to know where designers  are coming from, think of ways to guide them through your process and think of solutions that co-excist with their creations.

There was also a very interesting speech titled "Music, 3D Environments & Social Media - Where is it all headed?" given by Ron Lamourex, president of www.cafesonique.com presenting about 3D communities onto the web on how it has worked for them. Interestingly enough the company is Winnipeg based.  I also attended two action script speeches which talked about what is new with actionscript 3.0. These tips will definitley be useful when the times comes around for me to do something quick in flash.

My two highlights were at the very end of the day when Erik Natzke gave a speach titled "Beyond the Knowledge: The art of playing" and Joshua Davis gave another speach straight after titled "New Works".  It was really neat watching these guys present becuase they both in their own ways captured the audience with their incredible works generated in actionscript (it’s really neat seeing ther art as a result of their code and mathematics). Each had his own story to tell which made it even more interesting.

All in all I feel fortunate to be able to attend such a great day full of great speakers right here at home.

Leopard, Spaces and Multiple Safari Windows

General
Julian Moffatt
Julian Moffatt CEO / Partner
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:1
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1 (888) 237-9559
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http://www.visuallizard.com
Julian Moffatt Purveyor of Good Times

Safari Windows across multiple spaces

Leopard introduced the average user to virtual work spaces, known simply as Spaces in OS X. These virtual work spaces can contain as many applications as you like in an effort to keep you organized. The general concept of Spaces as a simple implementation for the masses is a good one.

My main issue with spaces is that you can not have seperate windows from an application in more than one space. an obvious application that I would personally like to have in a few different spaces is Safari. It would be nice to have a single window open in my web development space as well as having a window open in my communication space.

Presently there is the option within the spaces preference pane that lets you assign an application to be available in all spaces, or locked into a single space no matter which space you launch it in. That doesn’t really address the need to have a window in space 1 and space 2, but not in 3 and 4 (or more).

To work around this present limitation I’ve found a little trick. Here is what you can do to get single instances of Safari into various spaces: use the dashboard to launch the individual windows.

Yup. That’s it. Just go to the space you want a Safari window to appear in. Hit F12 to launch dashboard. Use the google widget, or any Safari launching widget like Junior Mint, to pop a new Safari window into the current space you entered Dashboard in. Rinse and repeat in each space you want a single window of Safari.

This doesn’t really fix spaces, but it solves the browser window issue for me anyhow.

Living with OS X Leopard and Loving It

General
Julian Moffatt
Julian Moffatt CEO / Partner
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:1
toll-free
1 (888) 237-9559
url
http://www.visuallizard.com
Julian Moffatt Purveyor of Good Times

Mac OS X Leopard

Ok, so we happily raced out and picked up OS X Leopard. Yes, we know about the benfits of waiting for .1 releases on OS systems, but frankly, Time Machine is worth the headaches that come with .0 software. Not to mention the unified GUI. I can’t even launch programs on my wife’s G4 PowerBook without cringing now.

Anyhow, this post is not to extoll all the virtues of OS X Leopard. If you want a detailed, seriously in-depth review, see John Siracusa’s article at Ars Technica. This post is going to list out a few loves and a few hates at this point. Let’s go.

What I am not loving about OS X Leopard:

  • iCal event notifications
    If i copy and past an event from week to week, notifications get completely hosed up. The new version of the event will not recognize responses from attendees.

  • iCal edit window for events
    This is one of those love / hate UI elements. I hate it. The floating menu that comes up when you are editing an event in iCal is too small to work in comfortably. It floats around iCal and very quickly looses the association it had with the event item on the calendar. I’m really missing the tray as far as iCal event go.

  • Spaces
    Yes. I’m not in love with spaces. It is close to being really useful. IF Apple can figure out a way to allow application windows to move from space to space, then Spaces will be a killer feature in OS X. Until then ... I’m still an Expose guy.

  • Notes / To-do items in Mail
    To be honest, I played with them for about 3 minutes after installation and then haven’t touched them since. I know they are there. I just can’t fit it into my current to-do / notes system, which is Basecmap

What I am loving about OS X Leopard:

  • Unified GUI
    I can’t tell you how jarring it is to load up any application on my wife’s G4 PowerBook now that I have been immersed in Leopard for a few weeks. The unified look is worth the upgrade alone if you are an interface snob like me.

  • Time Machine
    Yup. Time Machine is the killer feature of OS X Leopard in my opinion. Time Machine has taken the most mundane of tasks, backing up your data, and made it into a set it and forget it feature. Plug in an external drive, tell Time Machine to use it, rest easy. Time Machine even lets me find draft copies of emails if you hunt around hard enough. Everything is there.

  • Spotlight
    Spotlight in OS X 10.4 sucked. I used Quicksilver for 4 years because Spotlight just didn’t cut it. Spotlight in Leopard has clearly been influenced heavily by the great work of Quicksilver. Spotlight now finds apps, files, contacts and pretty much everything on your hard drive in seconds. Applications appear first (usually) and launching them is as fast as it was under Quicksilver. Spotlight works so well that in 2 weeks, I have yet to reinstall Quicksilver.

  • Quick Look
    Damn if I didn’t think cover-flow was just a gimmick to sell more copies of OS X. While it still might be, the ability to tap Sapcebar while in Finder, which then brings up the Quick Look window is indispensable. I can now instantly see web layout comps without launching a graphics program. I can read PDFs quickly. I can even pop open a text file and look at it if I want to. And with Numbers installed and setup to handle Excel files by default, taking quick looks at spread sheets is actually fun!

  • Mail
    The new data aware Mail under Leopard, which finds names, dates and contact information, then allows you to pick options from a menu when you hover over detected data, is fantastic. Adding contacts to Address Book, and sending events to iCal with just a click or two is HUGE time saver. 

Those are my current few loves and hates for OS X Leopard. Do you have something you love about Leopard? Leave it in the comments and we will compare notes later.