Tagged "review"

iOS Shells, Prompt vs. Mosh

I’m a big fan of the shell and the productivity it brings, you can have a text editor, command to run a server and more within easy reach. I use a shell at work, at home and on the go. On the go could be using my iPad or iPhone. One of the first SSH clients on iOS was iSSH, which I used many years ago. After this, Panic released a professional class application called Prompt.

Plain Text Accounting

For the last few years, I’ve always wanted to budget properly and see where my money was going. But like all habits that are good for you, looking after your finances takes time, care and attention. I started off by researching the market for budgeting software. A lot of the prepackged software out there was very US-centric, including Quicken, Microsoft Money and Mint.com. I eventually settled on and bought a license for You Need a Budget, because: it had a budgeting methodology, very good Euro support and was cross platform with Adobe Air.

iPad Pro Review

After some thought initially on a new laptop, I decided to spring for an iPad Pro 12.9". So far I am really glad I did, the computer comes with me everywhere. I bring it to work, to visit family, on trips and everywhere in between. It’s the ultimate work computer in many ways, always with you, light enough and comfortable enough for real work™. The keyboard shortcuts in iOS have improved massively from iOS 8 to iOS 9 to the point of actually being useful and the split screen view is actually rather nice to use (I never “got” it on a Mac).

Remote: Office Not Required

I recently read Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier-Hansson (who created Ruby on Rails) and Jason Fried (who co-founded 37 Signals with Heinemeier-Hansson). This book is really a case study in why the future of work will be remote, of which the book did convince me (but I would say, I already believed). The book is really structured to convince those who do not believe in the premise of the title.

Mechanical Keyboards

Early last year, I purchased two Code Keyboards (one for work and one for home). The Code Keyboards are designed by Jeff Atwood (who founded Stack Overflow). Mechanical keyboards are “old style” in that the switches are from an era where everything was mechanical, unlike today where everything is glass. So mechanical keyboards have ardent fans and people who don’t really care for them. I did a lot of research before I purchased, talking to various people in work who are very knowledgeable about mechanical keyboards (The best community for advice, discussion and group buys is /r/mechanicalkeyboards on reddit.

Ulysses App

I recently purchased Ulysses Mobile after a recommendation from Macstories. My first impression was how expensive it was priced and what really makes a premium writing application? Needless to say, I’m not a huge writer. But I do have a real fondness for plain text (it will survive the apocalypse) and by extension, Markdown by John Gruber. The problem for Ulysses is this: there’s lots of really great Markdown applications for iOS, two of which I have written about: Editorial (my favourite) and Byword (not so keen on this app).

Roost Laptop Stand

I backed the Roost laptop stand on Kickstarter, which already had a successful run in their first Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been delighted with the result so far, it lives up to the promises of being super light but yet durable and strong. Here’s a photo of it: It came with a really nice case which holds the Roost underneath and has pockets for a portable keyboard (I use a Logitech K811) and mouse (I use a Logitech Marathon M705).

Maintainable Software Book

I recently read O’Reilly Building Maintainable Software (Java Edition). It provides good insight as to what to look for to create maintainability in enterpise software systems. 10 suggestions the book provides: Write shorter units Write simpler units (measured in Cyclomatic Complexity) Write code once only Keep interfaces very small Seperate code in to modules Couple modules loosely Keep modules evenly sized Keep codebase small (and look for ways to right-size) Automate development pipeline and your tests Write clean code and refactor as you go Overall I thought the book was very well laid out, easy to read and easy to understand.

Deliveries App

Deliveries helps you track packages from major shopping (Amazon, Apple) as well as nearly every major package distribution company like DHL, UPS and FedEx. I’ve used the app for years and it’s really impressed me. It can sync via iCloud or the Junecloud cloud service by the makers of the app, Junecloud (not confusing at all, hey!). It started on the Mac as a simple dashboard widget (for those of you who remember those, rarely used these days), but it’s since grown to have its own Mac app also.

Editorial App

Editorial is an iPhone and iPad plain text editor that’s great for markdown1. It also has some nifty automation workflows, in which you can use Python scripts. These can search the web, scrape data, transform text and much more… I pretty much wrote this blog post (and many more) in Editorial. It’s much better then the competition for markdown in particular. Byword is an obvious competitor, which I really can’t recommend (nothing inherently wrong with Byword, just doesn’t suit me).

Soulver App

My favourite text number crunching app on iOS bar none is Soulver. What makes it the best? Fast to load Simple user interface that gets out of the way Contextual Keyboards (my favourite is the currency keyboard) Can reuse calculations from previous lines (and name calculations). iCloud sync Soulver is great for when a spreadsheet is just to heavy. I use it a lot for it currency conversion, makes it easy to have multiple line items in different currencies (say GBP & USD) and get a total in one (EUR).

Drafts App

My favourite text capture app on iOS bar none is Drafts by Agile Tortoise. What makes it the best? No fluff, loads fast Simple user interface that gets out of the way Extensible actions (which you can add to from their directory) iCloud sync I’ve tried a lot of other apps like Byword (Not worth the money I think), Apples’ built-in Notes app, Textastic and so on. None felt as efficient or as flexible as Drafts.

De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200 Bean to Cup

I’ve had this DeLonghi machine for a year and a half now, and I possibly am slightly a little in love. It was the best rated coffee machine (at time of purchase) on Amazon and it doesn’t dissapoint. For the purpose, it’s wonderful: Make great coffee fast, without a mess. If you’re looking for more, I would have a look at the more expensive models. When I shopped around at the time, I read that the internals of this machine are just as good as the ones that DeLonghi sells that are twice as expensive.

Stitcher is (audio) podcasts done right

Just a quick post about a great application I’ve seen mentioned by Cali Lewis: Stitcher. If your a talk radio fan like me, you’ll really appreciate this app! Ever since I switched from an iPhone 4 to a Galaxy S3 and stopped using Apple’s Podcast application it has been frustrating to keep up to date with podcasts. I’ve used BeyondPod on Android (which I’ve praised before - excellent Google Reader integration).

First Experiences with an ARM Chromebook

I recently bought a Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch). I am fascinated by living tied to the web, indeed my honours computer science thesis deals with this in relation to mobile applications (and hybrid half-app/ half-website). Spurred on by the excellent reviews this Chromebook has gotten ("It’s $1,000 worth of design made with $100 worth of materials" - The Verge and “You simply won’t find a netbook this nice for that little money.

Review of Steve Jobs Biography

I recently finished reading Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson. I can’t add much more then the extensive coverage that it has recieved in the press to date. Instead I paraphrase really badly a friend of mine, Noel Hudson: All that book thought me was dropping acid and treating people really badly works as a life strategy. While that’s not entirely true it is a humourous look at the books tone.

Notepad++: A Great Windows Editor

I spend a lot of my day in heavy development tools such as Eclipse1, but often for editing simple XML I just want a quick tool to make fast changes. If I use the CLI (or Linux) it’ll be Vim, if I’m on Mac it’ll be Textmate but on Windows it’s Notepad++. I haven’t found an editor on Windows as clean as Notepad++ (if you use a tool professionally, you get to know it’s quirks pretty fast) for editing text of any kind.

@ACR884 Tech Slot #003 – eReaders

Our third slot on Athlone Community Radio. Aired the third Monday in January 2012 on ACR 88.4FM in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland. Topics Covered: Kindle Sony eReader In this episode Patrick and Neil discuss the main players in the eBook market, as well as what eBooks are and the advanatages and disadvantages. Subscribe: Your browser does not support the audio tag. Download Link: TechnologySlot16-01-12

Review of the Motorola Xoom Wifi

I recently bought the wifi version of the Motorola Xoom. I did not get the 3G version to keep costs down (no second carrier subscription in addition to smartphone I own). Here’s my review, let it be noted I’ve been an iOS user since version 2 (iPhone 3G) and although I have used devices from Android 1.6 and up - I’ve never ’lived’ with them. Motorola Xoom Aesthetics & Design First of all the design is very well executed.

Plantronics .655 USB Headset Review

I got a Plantronics .655 USB Headset mainly for the ability to do VOIP well. Those of you who come here often know I reviewed Sennheiser HD595 before, which is a headset built for the quality of reproduction (I use that one for music). There’s not much you can say about a VOIP headset, so I am going to keep this short! The Plantronics .655 USB isn’t the most comfortable headset and the usb connection seemed like a plus as I’d never owned a USB headset.

Tech Video Podcasts Worth Watching

I try to listen to as many podcasts (netcasts?) as I can. They fall in to two categories: Irish radio and technology. Luckily, there is so much competition in this space it’s hard to pick the best - so quality is high! Tech News Today (TNT) by the TWiT Network Regular and fills you right up to the minute with the latest tech news. Can replace RSS of many blogs (HUGE time saver) since lively debate of tech topics is the order of the day.

Sennheiser HD595 Review

During last summer I purchased a set of Sennheiser HD595’s - a great product for Audiophiles. I have to say for someone who constantly listens to a lot of music - good headphones like these are a must. They are expensive for sure, but Sennheiser do seem to have a great durability and solid build quality. This is my first set of such high quality headphones, so bear that in mind - I can’t speak for other manufacturers in this space.

iPhone 4 Review

I purchased the iPhone 4 shortly after its release in Summer 2010. I have obviously been so quick to review this device, the iPhone 5 is upon us! My philosophy for reviewing items is you have to live with them. Well boy have I lived with my iPhone 4! As I write this on it, I do marvel at how good the hardware is. I’ve dropped this extremely expensive device on occasions too numerous to count, so luckily it is designed well.

My Top Chrome Extensions

Below I present some very useful extensions I use while using Google Chrome, in no particular order. Adblock Blocks ads just like Firefox extension and makes the web less junky to look at. You can whitelist good ads, and an argument could be had your harming websites revenue stream, but a lot of nasty tricks such as spyware, malware have used ads as a vector to spread. Not least the dishonesty some sites use in splitting up articles in to 10 pages to pump ad revenue.

Garmin Zumo 660 Motorcycle GPS

It’s been over a week since I received my Garmin Zumo 660 Motorcycle GPS unit. I thought I’d give it a run-down for potential buyers on my experience for the first week. Firstly I should mention, I’ve never owned another Garmin unit, and had two mobile GPS’ units before (one being Nokia N800 with Bluetooth external GPS and other Apple iPhone 3G). The reason I bring this up is that a lot of the reviews I’ve seen written compare it to it’s predecessor, Zumo 550, which obviously I can’t do.

Honda Bros Motorcycle

I recently purchased - known as a cult motorbike - a Honda BROS (known in the US as a HawkGT). It is a 400cc V-Twin 1991 model, with 33BHP / 24.6Kw out of the factory. That put’s it under the legal limit for a learner motorcycle in the A category of license in Ireland. I’ve been progressing through bikes, slowly gaining confidence and experience. I posted about my Yamaha YQ50, My Yamaha YP125 (Majesty) and now it’s a Honda BROS’ turn!

Yamaha Majesty 400c Review

I own a Majesty 125cc 2002. The video below is the updated (and more powerful) model: (Some of the) New features: 2x the amount of space Parking break (for hills! Think handbrake if your a car driver) Liquid-cooled 400cc ABS brakes Dual Halogen Headlights Larger rear lights Csr-like oversize dials on dash It looks good, good, good. I haven’t looked at price, but my last two bikes are Yamaha and I’ve had little trouble with them.

iPhone 3G Review

I recently got an iPhone 3G and away from all that Apple mania; I thought I would give an honest review. This is framed in the mindset of all the past Nokia devices (which I have posted about here also) which I have owned. Okay so where to start? Well I think a good place would be what I could have bought instead. Strange place for a review; but its good to see what is out there and what I was looking at beforehand.

KDE 4.2 Beta 2

Recently I downloaded the Kubuntu packages of the new KDE 4.2 beta 2. For those of you who don’t know; KDE is the K Desktop Environment; which includes a window manager (KWin), common desktop applications, its own menu (Kickoff), browser (Konqueror), file manager (dolphin) etc. Basically it is the most popular desktop environment on Linux next to Gnome. *KDE 4.2 Beta 2 with Kickoff Menu visible **What is so special about KDE?

Profiling Firefox Extensions I have installed

My Current Firefox Extensions: A-Z* Adblock Plus; because ads are for people that don’t know how to avoid them! Not only do they stop your banwidth from being wasted; they make a ton of websites more usuable. It takes care of Flash Ads as well as static ones; using a filter that is constantly updated. So even if some of the webs more devious and sneaky advertisers try to circumvent it; AdBlock can have a fix to everyone online within hours.

Yamaha YQ Aerox - best moped ever?

Well I think so! Got one there 2 months ago and forgot to write a blog post about it. I got a ‘01 model for a bargain price I believe; but this theory has yet to be tested (I’ll wait for a year to be up). As I mentioned before in previous posts my parent’s house is now in a remote location with no train/buses anywhere nearby. So transport was essential!

Why I think Amarok rocks....

I just purchased an Amarok hoodie andt-shirt; and I couldn’t be happier supporting one of my favourite open source projects! What makes it so good? Have you ever heard of Amarok? Chances are if your an OS X or Windows user; you haven’t. All this is about to change! The amarok team are busy porting it from it’s UNIX underpinnings to Windows and OS X. Whats to like about Amarok then?

A few days with A Nokia N810

I last discussed the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet in October; when details were only starting to filter out. It wasn’t expected for Nokia to introduce an upgrade to the N800 Internet Tablet (which I also reviewed here) so soon. I certainly don’t envy the position of a small team getting the hardware and software for a mini-computer right in such a short space of time. But needless to say the N810 feels right; in fact it feels more right than the N770 which I thought had the best design of all (be it functionality not so much style).

Nokia N810 Tablet to hit the shops soon...

Nokia have announced an upgrade to the N800 Internet tablet, called the N810. I suspect its called that because it is more of an incremental upgrade than a total visual refresh it was going from an Nokia 770 to N800. Here it is: (Picture Courtesy: Internet Tablet Talk) It sports a nice new hardware keyboard; inbuilt GPS (For satellite mapping) and OS 2008 (an upgrade to the operating system it runs).

Review of the Official Ubuntu Book, Second Edition (2007)

The Ubuntu Book (2nd Edition) is a nicely put together book for dealing with the Linux operating system in a number of clearly laid out and well presented chapters. Chapters are as follows: Introducing Ubuntu Installing Ubuntu Using Ubuntu on the Desktop Advanced Usage and Managing Ubuntu Ubuntu Server Support / Typical Problems Using Kubuntu Ubuntu Community Ubuntu-Related Projects Using Edubuntu This book is a very complete introduction and contains suprising elements related to finding out and joining the community of users - which you will not find in other Ubuntu Books (such as O’Reilly’s Ubuntu Hacks) which make it a unique and worthwhile addition to any Ubuntu users personal library.

HP Photosmart R927 Review

I just bought a HP Photosmart R927, an 8 Megapixel camera from Hewlett-Packard. While I had seen and briefly used one before, I was excited again upon using my own one (as all tech people are [read: geeks]). First of all don’t confuse me as anyway into photography: I’m not and far from it. I had a criteria in mind when I purchased and this was it: Must work under any OS (Windows [a given], Mac and Linux [latter two I only use]) Every camera I have come across mounts as a disc drive [think looking at files on a cd or your local computer], but there is also PTP or “Picture Transfer Protocol” in other words it doesn’t appear as picture files, rather PTP triggers your computer to open your camera in your photo application.

My Top 10 Applications of 2007

Here’s a few items I’d like to share with everyone as I find them extremely useful, hopefully you will too, thats if you have never used them! My Top 10 Apps of 2007 in descending order: 10. Spybot Search and Destroy Always a must on spyware infested Windows XP installs I come across (Unfortunately all to often). It removes a lot of the bad stuff, and my most used feature is system startup section, as I can stop all that crud from loading and slowing everything to a crawl.

Nokia N800 Review

I have one of those new Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, as many of you know I was one of the first to buy its predecessor, the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. What do I think? Well I have put of writing this for 4 days, as I wanted to really test it out. Before I start, I should say I was part of the Nokia Developer Device program, and I got the Nokia N800 at a big discount, €300 off the €399 retail price in fact.

Nokia 6234 Video Test

I recently got a hold of my Christmas present in advance, a new Nokia 6234 from Vodafone Ireland. I did a short video test, maybe this could be the start of my VideoBlogging career: Well maybe not! But I do hope to have more videos on my blog! The video is of me describing my living quarters and about my laptop. I needed to be a bit closer to the phone as hearing me is difficult sometimes (not so in real life!

Best Radio Podcasts

Even while podcasts are relatively new (well a couple of years - like blogs), Irish Radio Stations are surprisingly well in on the act. Even our incumbent state broadcaster, RTE, is podcasting en-masse on both RTE Radio 1 and RTE 2FM. To recieve podcasts, you need podcasting software, start by getting Juice Reciever(Formerly iPodder), available for Linux, BSD, MAC and Windows. I will start with my top 5 Irish Radio podcasts:

Just Klik it!

One of the biggest complaints of Linux is that software doesn’t install to well, or is very difficult to install. “Dependency Hell” (When software relies on other bits of software to work), used to be quite commonplace. Ubuntu has cleaned a lot of dependency hell up, and a new program for installing software from the internet, is included in the new version, due to be released 1st June 2006. That’s when I discovered a little gem called Klik for many Linux distributions.

Nokia 770 Internet Tablet

I got it! UPS delivered the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. What can I say? It is pure magic! The features are great, it includes: Web Browser (Opera) Flash Player version 6 Email Client Internet Radio News Reader Media players, Image viewer PDF viewer File Manager Search Calculator World Clock Notes Sketch Games It runs on Linux, making it totally extendable. It even has its own developer site at maemo.org, where applications can be downloaded.