Creative Conglomerate

A recent client project led me to look at the available services and solutions from Adobe. Below is a partial list. While impressive, it may also be overwhelming. How many can you describe? A dozen? 30? 40? 60? Things have sure changed since my days at Macromedia.


Of course there are also players, readers and runtimes for Flash, Acrobat, and AIR. There are alo wide selection of utilities, services and support like Creative Cloud Packager. Whew.

I’d never do this with my work machine

Last night I booted my MacBook Air to do 2-3 important things before I forgot. I ended up doing 8-10 things and shutting down.

Then I remembered that I shut down before I did one of those important things. I powered up again and got it done. It only took a minute because booting is painless & fast, so I could quickly do just one more thing.

That’s the part I’d never do with my work machine. Undergo the 5 minute long boot process to capture a thought or complete a 90 second task.

How much do “I’d never do that with my work machine” items cost us?

Time to change my work machine so that it supports my work and getting one more thing done, instead of discouraging it.

Backing a Project on Kickstarter

I just decided to try backing a Kickstarter project, CableKeeps – for iPad, iPhone, and iPod chargers. They are clever, cute snap-on organizers for iPhone and iPad chargers & cables. The iPhone version appears below.


I don’t know any of the designers/developers, but thought it was interesting enough to look into. Maybe you’ll want one or know someone who wants to order a few as holiday gifts. Take a look quick, as funding closes September 8, 2011.

iOS Git/Subversion Viewer Apps

Browsers/Viewers versus git/svn clients
To be clear, these apps don’t really offer much in terms of editing code or repository push/pull. However, most offer a way to review code or code status & history (and some include syntax highlighting of the viewed code).

My preferences
Code Viewer 2 is my current favorite for viewing code and I’ve used it (via svn) with both Beanstalk and Github. Code Viewer 2 doesn’t currently have direct support for git, but works using svn against either of those hosts and supports syntax highlight for popular code types (eg, HTML, JavaScript, XML and more). That I like alot. However, compared to all the others it is a little more finicky when connecting to a repository. I do like that it supports both iPhone and iPad making good use of the larger screen.

I generally prefer the universal apps (Code Viewer 2, Source Code, Magic Bean) and the iPad app (GitHub Viewer). The GitHub Viewer, Unfuddle app and Beanstalk apps are easiest to setup. The Unfuddle app seems more suited to monitor the repository and tracking /managing issues. I can’t speak to “Magic Bean” as much since I didn’t buy that one, but I do like that it is for both iPhone and iPad.

The full list of git and svn apps I evaluated

Code Viewer 2 Code Viewer 2 [iPad & iPhone, App Store currently $5.99] – Checkout to browser/view with syntax highlighting for many file types. Not for editing.

Source Code Source Code [iPad & iPhone, App Store currently $1.99] – Slightly easier to connect to repo, no syntax highlighting

Git Hub Viewer Lite GitHub Viewer Lite [iPad only, App Store currently free] – Nice for browsing and seeing who is active with a repository.

Git Hub Viewer GitHub Viewer [iPad only, App Store currently $0.99] – Nice for browsing and seeing who is active with a repository.

Unfuddle Unfuddle [iPhone only, App Store currently free] – Check/manage repo & issues on-the-go.

Magic Bean Magic Bean [iPad & iPhone, App Store currently $2.99] – For browsing and checking status, Works on both iPhone and iPad. Not fully evaluated.

Habichuelas Lite Habichuelas Lite [iPhone only, App Store currently free] – Nice for browsing and seeing who is active with a repository.

Habichuelas Habichuelas [iPhone only, App Store currently $2.99] – Nice for browsing and seeing who is active with a repository. Not fully evaluated.

Found any others of interest? Please comment.

Git Tools for Mac OS X

To get my projects over to GitHub I used the command line version of Git for Mac OS X which I installed long ago to access (clone) things like PhoneGap (btw, on Win XP I’ve used msysgit – Git for Windows). However, last week I made my first attempt at pushing anything up to GitHub instead of cloning down from it. I muddled through the git command line, but am still looking for a nice UI client on Mac OS X and Windows.

I’ll admit that I’m finding it nearly a necessity to start with the git command line so that I better understand the underlying concepts. Sometimes the best way to learn a technology is to dig a few holes and struggle back out. Likewise, it seems like there are some edge cases and corners with version control systems that require the command line (and and Google and nerves of steel). Meanwhile, I’m tracking a few tools for the Mac to increase my productivity with git for routine things.

My Favorites
The most promising apps for me are SourceTree and Tower (naturally the most expensive ones too). Tower has some nicer overall polish, but SourceTree has a views I like better and seems to regularly improve with use (and across releases).

I’m on Day 6 of a  30 day trial of Tower and like that it supports git and svn, integrates with many other client tools (e.g., with CodaKaleidoscope TextMate, etc.) and is super easy to configure for either GitHub or Beanstalk back-end repositories. With SourceTree, I’m understanding git better and seeing things more clearly, but missing some of the polish back-end integration seen in Tower.

Git Client Apps for Mac OS X
Here’s a run down of some options and links for those on the Mac App Store. There is a good response by Mason on StackOverflow that runs down pros and cons of a few of these tools. I too didn’t care much for the cross-platform-y compromises of SmartGit, but some may like it. Here what I consider some Mac OS X contenders:

  • GitX [Free – under GPL v2 License]
    Project started in 2008, nice history/log view that you can use interactively, good video demos .
  • Sprout [Mac App Store $28.99 during 15% off sale on now]
    Single window view supports multiple git repositories
  • Gitbox [Mac App Store $39.99]
    Single window view supports multiple git repositories. Developer web site offers download of Free trial version that supports up to 3 repositories.
  • Gitti [currently beta is free]
    Some nice hints and warnings. Still beta, but looks promising.
  • SourceTree [Mac App Store $59.99]
    Very powerful views- File status shows you at a glance what has been changed or not (or is missing), Log view is a wonderful way to show branches, commits, who did the commit and highlight the file diffs. Cloning from remote works with ssh URL or http/https. Developer web site offers download of Free 21-day trial version.
  • Tower [developer site $59]
    Really nice integration with both GitHub and Beanstalk. Easily create local repository or a new repository hosted on Beanstalk or GitHub. Cloning from remote works with ssh URL or http/https. App icon in dock shows badge with number of changed files in active repository. Developer web site offers download of Free 30-day trial version that works with up to 3 repositories concurrently.

For a git UI client, I may end-up sticking with GitX for a while though, because it is free. If I can justify the expense, I’ll likely go with SourceTree or Tower, depending on CFO approval and/or any pricing specials. My next post will address git and svn viewers on iOS for the iPhone and iPad.

Migrating My Projects to Github

Github is a wonderful service and it is free to host public repositories. I’m starting to migrate projects to my account on github to make it easier to manage version control, updates, distribution and to act as a back-up for me.

The first projects to be migrated are:

Github and git are a great tool set. Github goes far beyond being “just” a remote repository and I really like what I was able to do for the “fyi” project with Github Project Pages.

Sidebar- Beanstalk has a free trial account that provide 1 private repository for svn or git. There is a good Wikipedia Comparison of Revision Control Software if you want to compare git, Mercurial, svn, etc. I used Beanstalk with Xcode 3 and svn for the duration of the UW iPhone Certificate Program and it worked very well.

With Github you can get unlimited free public repositories for free. Both Github and Beanstalk offer SSL with the free accounts. Since Xcode 4 has built-in support for git, you may want to compare account plans for Beanstalk, Github and Unfuddle git hosting. That said, I’m going to primarily use Github, but will hang on to my Beanstalk and Unfuddle accounts.

In a few days I’ll post a quick run down of what I’ve learned about git tools for Mac OS X and iOS.

fyiPad Bookmarklet

UPDATE: April 19, 2011 – Project now hosted elsewhere, see fyi-bookmarklets on Github

This is a follow-up to an earlier post on the fyi Bookmarklet. This version is optimized for iOS, and the iPad specifically. It makes it very easy to share a snippet of a web page and the URL by email.

Compared to the built-in iOS Mobile Safari action “Mail Link to this Page,” the fyiPad Bookmarklet adds the capability to automatically insert selected text from the page, without having to paste anything.

Unlike the Firefox fyi Bookmarklet, this bookmarklet can not be triggered by typing  a keyword. The install is slightly different because of Mobile Safari restrictions on adding javascript: bookmarks (bookmarklets).


Use Mobile Safari to visit the fyiPad setup page and follow the instructions on that page to save and edit the bookmark. You will likely want to rename the bookmark. On my iPad the bookmark is named “fyi” just like on my desktop Firefox browser. It is saved in the “Bookmarks Bar” folder.

Tip: For greater convenience on iPad, use the “Settings” app to choose “Safari” settings and set “Always Show Bookmarks Bar” to ON. Usage:

Activate the “fyiPad” bookmarklet by using the bookmark menu, or by tapping the bookmark in your Bookmark Bar.

This opens a new email with the page title in the email subject. The email body contains the page title and URL. If any text on the page is selected, then the selected text is also included in the body.


  • iOS 3.2.1 or higher and Mobile Safari

Version History:

Version 1.0 (April 6, 2011) newer versions available on Github

Known Issues:

Tested on iPad with iOS 4.3.1. Likely to work on iPhone.

No way to activate by typing a keyword. No way to pre-populate the new email with a recipient address.




Source on Github

Please use comments here or Github to report bugs or provide feedback. Thanks.