Pan-Mass Challenge software charity auction

August 17, 2007

Seth Dillingham’s software charity auction is finally live. It includes tons of great OSX applications from all kinds of developers, including my own Runner’s Log. All applications in the bundle come with a fully registered license. If you’ve had your eye on any of these apps, this would be a great opportunity. Of course, all profits go to charity.

You can find more information on Seth’s blog, or view the auction here.

PDA sales drop 40% this year

August 16, 2007

From Ars Technica:

There are two kinds of people in the world—those who believe in the power of the PDA and those who don't—and the first group is shrinking faster than a cotton shirt in an industrial dryer. If you're the sort of person who won't part from a beloved Tungsten E until it is pried from your cold, dead fingers, now may be a good time to start stocking up on replacements. According a variety of new reports, the PDA market is drying up. In the year between the second quarter of 2006 and the second quarter of 2007, for instance, PDAs saw an astonishing 43.5 percent decrease in worldwide shipments, and no more than a million devices were sold in the quarter.

It’s definitely a sad time for PDAs. I remember five or six years ago, when I first started to look at the PDA market it seemed like there was plenty in store for the future. PDAs were getting smaller, packing in more features like high-resolution screens and wifi, and manufacturers like Palm and Sony were coming out with some very high quality, innovative and stylish designs. It all seemed to stagnate though. There’s been very little true innovation in PDA software (both operating systems and third party applications), and hardware manufacturers have been either re-using their existing designs or getting out of the business altogether. When I look at the iPhone today, that’s more or less the future I had thought was in store for big PDA manufactures like HP and Sony.

I guess I share the blame in a small way, though. I had a few small unreleased games and a web application for Windows Mobile I used to be involved with, and I pretty much forgot about them once I started programming for Mac OS X.

Engadget reveals Nike Amp+

August 16, 2007

It’s been a rumor since last Christmas, but it looks like the Nike Amp+ iPod controller is finally nearing release. It looks like a neat device. These days I wear my iPod on my wrist where it’s not too hard to use while I’m running, but I remember back when I was still using the Apple arm band it seemed almost impossible to not press the wrong button.

I should also mention that Nike+ support is coming to the next version of Runner’s Log; I’ve been testing it the past two weeks and it works even better than I initially thought it would.

Microsoft RDC 2.0 OSX Client Beta

July 31, 2007

All I can say is, it’s about time. Unfortunately for those of us who have been looking forward to using this on a day-to-day basis, the term ‘beta’ seems very appropriate in this case. In the short time I tried it I noticed several problems, including two crashes when disconnecting from a session.

A hack to use your iPhone’s Internet connection

July 31, 2007

From Ars Technica: Connect your computer to your iPhone’s EDGE. It’s a little complicated, but with some work it looks like you can use your iPhone to create an ad-hoc WiFi network, which you can then use to share your EDGE internet connection.

I’m glad to see this is possible, even though it’s a long way from being as easy to use as if it were a built in feature. My current cell phone is a Sony Ericsson w810i, which works amazingly well as a bluetooth internet connection for my MacBook Pro. I use it very infrequently, mostly when I’m working at a cafe without an internet connection or when I’m traveling. Even so, it’s so valuable when I do need it that I would have a hard time moving to any other phone (iPhone or otherwise) that doesn’t work the same way.

Runner’s Log 1.0.3 Released

July 25, 2007

I finished <a href=;”>Runner’s Log</a> 1.0.3 last weekend; have a look at the changelog, or download the new version. 1.0.3 has several new improvements, but it’s mostly bug fixes and cleaning up some old code that I wanted to get out of the way before I started on a bunch of new features I’m planning for 1.1.0.

Runner’s Log is also the featured download in Apple’s Downloads section today. Neat!

Cocoa Code Snippets

July 25, 2007

I came across two new sites today thanks to Bagelturf; Cocoa Traces and Code Beach. Both are repositories for those small, useful pieces of source code that are always nice to come across when you’re looking for the answer to a common problem.

If you’re still reading this you’re probably well familiar with it by now, but the CocoaDev wiki is a great resource for small code examples as well.

EyeTunes Cocoa Framework

July 18, 2007

If you want to build a Cocoa application that works with iTunes, take a look at the free EyeTunes framework from Dealing with iTunes through AppleScript is no picnic; it seems like this might be a good alternative. Maybe I’ll take my old playlist generator out of retirement and see if EyeTunes can solve any of the problems I had with it.

Take a look at the charity-ware application Menuet for an example of an application that uses EyeTunes.

QuickTime Player now does fullscreen for free

July 13, 2007

Once you grab the latest software update, that is. I always thought it was a bad decision to not include fullscreen in the free QuickTime player, especially given the number of hacks, scripts, and terminal commands that anyone could use to get around this restriction (but still weren’t as convenient as cmd+f). I’m glad to see it’s now free.

It’s great timing too, since Perian (an OSX multi-codec collection) just hit 1.0 a few weeks ago. The two make a great alternative to VLC, which simply won’t stop crashing on either my PowerBook or MacBook Pro.

Building expiring software

July 13, 2007

A neat pre-processor trick from Brian Cooke showed up on Daniel Jalkut’s blog today. It’s useful for anyone working with beta software that needs to expire after a certain date; instead of putting a new expiration date into your code each time you release a build, you use the gcc DATE macro.

// Two-week expiration

// Idea from Brian Cooke.
NSString* nowString =
[NSString stringWithUTF8String:__DATE__];
NSCalendarDate* nowDate =
[NSCalendarDate dateWithNaturalLanguageString:nowString];
NSCalendarDate* expireDate =
[nowDate addTimeInterval:(60*60*24* EXPIREAFTERDAYS)];

if ([expireDate earlierDate:[NSDate date]] == expireDate)
// Run an alert or whatever
// Quit!
[[NSApplication sharedApplication] terminate:self];

Again, thanks to Daniel Jalkut for writing up the explanation and code sample.

Configuring the ReportViewer control at run time

July 09, 2007

I’ve been using the ReportViewer .NET control recently for a project at work. I’m using a collection of data objects as a data source, and while the ReportViewer itself works great, the documentation doesn’t really go beyond putting things together in the Visual Studio designer. It’s actually just as easy to do the configuration in code at run time, which is useful if you need to choose from multiple reports or types of data. Just add the ReportViewer control in the designer, but use the following code example instead of choosing a report and bindings context.

string dataSetName = "MyApplication_ModelObject";
string resourcePath = "MyApplication.SomeReport.rdlc"
List<modelObject> dataSource = ObjectProvider.GetObjects();

reportViewer.LocalReport.ReportEmbeddedResource = resourcePath;
reportViewer.LocalReport.DataSources.Add( new ReportDataSource( dataSetName, dataSource ) );

Note that the ReportEmbeddedResource string must include the full namespace as well as the file name. If you’re not sure what data set name to use, just open your report in the XML viewer.

FlyGesture now freeware

July 05, 2007

Gus Muller’s OSX application FlyGesture is now freeware, and the best kind of freeware; the kind that has all the effort and polish of a commercial application. Gus released FlyGesture for free based on poor sales when it was shareware, which is disappointing, but I think understandable. Out of all the application launchers for I’ve seen (and there are a lot of nice ones out there), I always go back to Quicksilver in the end.