Book resources for learning Ruby on Rails

I've now been using Ruby on Rails for a little over a year and have found it to be a fantastic environment to build web based applications. The last year has not been without some serious pain and learning curves and while I hardly consider myself a master of the environment I've found a number of resources that may help you if you are considering using RoR as a development platform. Sure, you can access nearly everything you need to learn RoR online but I am personally still … [Read more...]

10 little known Mac utilities

When I blog about applications that I've found I generally wrap up my posts with an open invitation to readers: Got any you like? Many folks have been generous and shared links and applications that I've used to expand my virtual toolbox and make my Mac experience more fun and productive. This time I turned that process around a bit and used Twitter up front. I put out this question: Looking for cool little Mac utilities that nobody knows about... I promptly received replies from a number of … [Read more...]

Remembering those shortcuts easily – KeyCue

The best part about writing a blog where I talk about Macs? People give me some great tips in the comments and yesterday's post on apps for making users more productive was no exception. While I love the shortcuts available on my Mac I often overlook many of them because I don't know what they are and they aren't always obvious. Fortunately DCBrit stopped by and mentioned KeyCue, an application that can quickly display all of the keyboard shortcuts for the application you are currently … [Read more...]

4 Mac Apps that speed YOU up

Many people are obsessed with speed and I happily include myself in that category, at least with respect to the performance I get from my computer. Whether it's a faster processor, more memory, a quicker graphics card or a new high-speed hard drive, upgrading to the latest and greatest translates into getting things done more quickly.It's not enough to just throw hardware at a problem, sometimes you have to optimize yourself. Of course I can do this by inhaling a rather large quantity of coffee … [Read more...]

TweetDeck vs Nambu vs Tweetie

I've become quite attached to Twitter lately, as several of my blog posts will attest. I use it for a wide range of things; a source of news (technical and non-technical), to chat with friends and share things I find of interest, to ask and answer questions on Macs, Ruby on Rails, etc. and finally to banter about my favorite sports teams (Redskins and Caps, thank you very much).Given this wide range of uses I tend to be accessing my Twitter feeds throughout the day and the web interface simply … [Read more...]

OpenDNS, a great free way to speed up the interwebs

Last night I was doing some research and went to pull up the Ruby On Rails site. Unfortunately when I did I could not connect. My DNS server wasn't resolving it properly. Assuming it was Verizon's problem I embarked on a long and ultimately fruitless attempt to find out why rubyonrails.org was not resolving. While doing this I tweeted about it and suddenly got responses from people explaining that there were some problems with that domain name. It wasn't the Verizon DNS server after all.So … [Read more...]

Baby Shaking Apps and Other Challenges for Apple’s App Store

My wife and I were going through our morning routine, eating breakfast and reading the newspaper when suddenly she said "I can't believe Apple!". We share many core beliefs—especially on politics—so I usually give her a nod, offer a "Yup" and continue reading my section. Me: "What about Apple?" Wife: "They have a shaking baby iPhone application!!! This is outrageous!" Me: "Honey, Apple didn't make that application." Wife: "Well they had it in the App Store. That's just stupid." I c … [Read more...]

Keeping those bookmarks synchronized

I'm torn. On one hand I like Firefox because of the incredible array of add-ons, especially for developers building web applications. On the other hand I love the performance I get from Safari and with the release of the version 4 public beta many of the new features. As a result I find myself jumping between the two browsers all the time, often keeping both open (one for browsing, one for my current web development project). Compound this with the fact that I have two Macs I use … [Read more...]

Two tips for Tabbing your way through a Mac

When I switched to Mac from Windows I had an adjustment period. The window model is a bit different, the menu is in a different location, the Dock Bar != the Start menu, etc. Those all took a little adjustment period but I quickly overcame them as obstacles to productivity. By far the longest adjustment period involved the use of the keyboard and more specifically the use of the Tab key. For all of the keyboard power of a Mac (shortcuts are virtually everywhere) the Tab key seems to be … [Read more...]

Nambu makes Twitter feel natural for Mac users

For a while now I've been using TweetDeck to access my Twitter account. While I love many of the features that TweetDeck has made popular I always struggle with the UI. Though it's quite usable the fact that it's built on top of Adobe Air means it doesn't look quite right on my Mac's OS X desktop.I've tried a number of different Twitter clients for Mac but none worked quite as well as TweetDeck did for me. Then along came Nambu, which is still in beta. Nambu looks and feels like a normal OS X … [Read more...]

My top 5 ways to make Twitter better

I'm finding myself using Twitter more and more these days and not for putting out tweets about what I'm doing at the moment. Twitter is slowly replacing my RSS reader as my vehicle of choice for news I care about, whether it's general, technical, Mac specific or sports related. I've used it to promote my new company (SharedStatus), chat with friends about topics I care about, help people with Mac and Ruby on Rails specific questions and generally build up a network of people I like to chat and … [Read more...]

MacHeist 3 Bundle – some great apps

In the unlikely event you haven't heard of the MacHeist 3 Bundle allow me to introduce you. MacHeist is a collection of applications available for a dramatically reduced price. A significant portion of the proceeds go to a variety of 10 different charities, which you can designate when you purchase or simply let MacHeist evenly distribute to all. I've heard some people complain that this devalues ISV software, a claim I find ridiculous. The single most challenging problem every ISV faces … [Read more...]