Jul 092010

Jimmy just send me a link to ShapeCollage. It’s a free collage creator for Mac, Windows and Linux. I just played a few minutes with it and created a collage of our Tokyo pictures :) I kinda like it, just the watermark isn’t nice. I consider getting the pro version as it is 25 bucks only.

Update: I added a link to the picture on flickr.

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Oct 242009

Hm, eigentlich wollte ich vor einer halben Stunde los, aber das Projekt klingt dann doch zu interessant. Zur Einstimmung ein Video.

Das klingt interessant, ich werde es heute Nacht installieren und checken.

Gefunden auf Lifehacker, auf der Projektseite gibt es mehr Informationen.

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Sep 232009

Since about 2 weeks I have the macbook pro. I’ve set it up and I am quite happy with it. I’m a bit annoyed with the ambient light sensor which is always useful except a source of light is directly behind you and you are moving. a fix was a post-it-note away. what really bothers me is finding a proper mail client.

These are my preconditions: It’s a Zimbra mailbox which I can access via IMAP. The connection is SSL secured. In my mailbox I’ve created quite a lot folders to organize my stuff. In total I have about 50+ folders stored in a tree with maximum 4 levels. In total there are about 4000+ mails with a size of about 1.4 GB. There are a filters pre-sorting my mails in different folders.

What I wan to get:

  • receive and send Zimbra mails via IMAP or connector instantly
  • notification about new mails ideally integrated in growl. I want to decide on my own if I’m going to ignore a mail or not.
  • configure if unread or read count or both are shown
  • add, move and remove IMAP folders
  • manage several signatures

I suppose my basic issues are simply the size of the mailbox and the fact that folders in IMAP aren’t a well documented feature. I’ve tried a few mail programs and now I am nothing but frustrated.

What I tried so far:

  • Microsoft Entourage: To be honest I was quite happy with Outlook on Windows. So Microsoft Entourage seemed to be a good choice. As Outlook gets a proper Zimbra connector on Windows I expected Entourage running fine on Mac OS, too. Unfortunately there is no similar connector and so the access happens via IMAP. In result of that my folders don’t get displayed properly: sometimes sub folders were missing and after loading a few folders I couldn’t add more. I removed and added the mailbox again but couldn’t fix that behavior. I gave up on Entourage.
  • Mac Mail.app: seemed to be the logical choice. It comes with Mac OS, is highly integrated etc. I setup the mail server, all folders got loaded and I was glad. Then it took me a while to find out how to turn on the threaded view of mails. So I started using the application and learned to love it. The only annoying thing is that my outgoing mail server occasionally gets marked as offline. It happened in the beginning once or twice a day and it was easy to fix with re-adding the outgoing mail server. Since yesterday it doesn’t work at all any more. No matter what I’m doing 90% of my mails don’t get send. I don’t see a pattern what occurs this behavior and I don’t know how to work around. There are several forum entries but none of them helped me so far. As I can’t rely on the program sending my mails properly and as I keep forgetting checking if the send mail did indeed what it is supposed to do I looked for other alternatives. Btw, a bit annoying I found that I can’t create IMAP folders, too.
  • Thunderbird: yeah.. I don’t like it. I have used it quite a long time but for some reasons I just stopped using it. Nothing particular caused that. I gave it a try with my Zimbra mailbox. It failed and I uninstalled it. I could manually add my IMAP folders. Realizing that the name of a folder has to be unique made Thunderbird for me unusable too.
  • Claws Mail: installed via macports (which should indicate where the nerdy hint came from) it seemed to be quite nice. I liked the UI, it loaded all my folders. It had a nice statistic about read and unread counts. Claws mail had potential to be loved. But alas as it is a linux port it isn’t integrated into Mac OS properly and so i didn’t get notified about new mail. Which is a fail. Additionally the sync with Zimbra took too long whenever I clicked into a folder it got reloaded and sync’d with the mailbox which takes a while if you have 1000+ mails in a folder.
  • Zimbra Desktop: I finally gave up and installed it. I hate it. I’ve used it before and from my point of view it is just crap. Again nothing particular. I just don’t like the UI and the way how it needs to be configured. I’ve set it up 2 h ago and it is still synchronizing. I got since then a few new mails where I didn’t got notified about. This might be related to that it is still sync’ing. I’ve used it to answer mails. It can send them but in the writing panel there is no cursor for some reasons.
  • Zimbra web front end: All the hassle because I don’t want to use it, because I want to have an offline access to my mails. I want to get notified by more than a blinking tab. I want to have a UI that is simple, not having loads of toolbars with loads of buttons and loads of functions. And I particularly hate the color scheme they are using.

Right now I’m frustrated and have a couple of programs opened, none of them satisfies me. Mac Mail.app would be my first choice if I could send mails. Entourage seems to be nice, too. Also Claws mail I would give a choice if it would work for me. Thunderbird and Zimbra desktop just reflect my level of desparation. As of now it seems to me I’m going to spend my time on finding a proper solution.

Some other Zimbra-features I am using are:

  • Calendar: I’m happy about the calDav feature: maintaining my calendar and accessing other calendars works as smoothly as stable. 
  • Contacts: I’m not happy about the directory integration. Although I was following this article I still can’t access the global address book. I think this might probably be a matter of time and a bit more patience from my side.

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Sep 152009

Nach reichlich einer Woche mit dem MBP bin ich ganz zufrieden und die Maschine laeuft halbwegs. Was ich wirklich vermisse, ist ein Tool, dass dem Total Commander incl. einiger nuetzlicher Plugins entspricht. Neben allerlei frei verfuegbarer Software und vorinstallierten Paketen, ueberlege ich ernsthaft, mir diese Programme zu kaufen:

  • Path Finder – ich kann nicht ohne Commander Layout, Features wie Archieveerstellung,Tabs und FTP Integration gehoeren auch zu den Grundanforderungen. Preis liegt derzeit be ca. 39 US$. Als Alternative werde ich Fork Lift  (ca 20 US$) und muCommander (free) evaluieren
  • Remote Buddy – nicht nur fuer nett auf dem Sofa liegen und Filme schauen, auch Powerpoint und andere Anwendungen ueber das Fernbedienung steuern zu koennen, ist gerade fuer Workshops und Kundentermine nuetzlich. Es scheint eine Menge Konfigurationsmoeglichkeiten zu geben, damit werde ich mich spaeter auseinandersetzen. Preis liegt ebenso bei 20 US$.
  • MenuCalendarClock iCal – ein kleiner Kalender mit allen Terminen des Tages, der als drop down aus der Uhr in der Titelleiste aufgerufen werden kann. Auch 20 US$, die sinnvoll investiert sind.

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Aug 052009

i just came accross an unliked but necessary task. Due to a missunderstanding I was required to merge 2 branches. As I was the very lucky external consultant volunteering in absense for this task I didn’t know what changes where made in the versions stored in the vcs. Luckily the other version was available as patch – containing a bit more then 400 files. As there were no tools which would help to merge it automatically i’ve choosed the bloody painful way of manual merging. At the end it took me less than a day and I was quite happy about the environment I’ve setup to make merge easier. Because I’m unbelievably generous I share this setup with you…

For a short while I was considering just setting up a git repository on the original version and applying both change sets to different branches. As the result wasn’t predictable and my current git guru didn’t recommend this way at all for this particular task. I was considering a few more options but none of them did allow an almost automatic merge. Basically there was an additional requirement – the software needed to be compilable at the end ;)

“I’m German, I’m efficient” .. and I’m lazy .. i hate repeating the same steps again and again.. so I configured my working environment a bit to get rid of some of the steps. I’ve used Total Commander with the ShellDetails plugin. I’ve configured ShellDetails to see the revision of a file in the file list to be able to identify which file was already customized and which one not. This allowed my to decide quickly what to replace.

Additionally I’ve installed Examdiff a nice diff tool for Windows. After getting tired by dragging and dropping files into it I’ve also installed AutoHotKey and started writing a small script to call ExamDiff to be started as soon as I have selected 2 files. I’ve basically changed the existing sample to get rid of the use of total commander’s own compare tool. Unfortunately it didn’t work as easy as I expected – I left this part for further investigation. I struggeled when I tried to identify the selected files in the file view. I have no idea how to get their names and paths. When I’ve started to spend too much time on it I’ve just stopped and left it for further investigation.

Any hints are much appreciated :)

Configuring ShellDetails

  • Donwload and install it from the mentioned source. Open the zip in Total Commander it will trigger the plugin install process automatically.
  • Open the ShellDetails.ini (in the same folder as the wincmd.ini) and add the folders containing vcs content.
  • Go back to Total Commander and open Configuration > Options. Select Display > Custom Columns. Click on New and add custom columns for your desired configuration.

That’s all. Now you can choose a different view for the vcs folders.

Configuring ExamDiff

Nothing much to do. I’ve just changed the editor to Ultraedit. So Right Click > View / Edit on a file opens it directly in my favourite text editor.

Configuring AutoHotKey

Install. Write a script. Double click your script. Done.

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