The 1.6.0 install image for Git on Leopard is available.
Photo by rbieber
I keep this on my desk just in case someone needs me to make a decision.
Photo by rbieber
Thats right, a hammer with a bottle opener on the tail. Nice little "tool" for the "relaxation unit".
I thought I’d take some time to sit down and document the tools I’ve been using lately as I continue my acclamation into the MacIntosh world. These are tools that I’ve found really useful over the last six months or so.
- The Camino Browser – hands down the best browser I’ve found for the Mac so far. It’s my default browser.
- Ecto – Mac Native application for writing blog entries and posting them to your blog. Supports Blogger, Blojsom, Drupal, MovableType, Nucleus, TypePad, and WordPress among others. Doug referred to MarsEdit as another alternative, but Ecto fits the bill for me perfectly. It includes spell checker, Amazon Web Services integration, templates, preview – really everything you would want in an offline authoring tool.
- Vienna Newsreader – Vienna is an open source RSS reader for the Macintosh. It is quite comparable to FeedDemon, which I used on Windows, but I like it a lot better. This tool has become one of the things I use daily in order to keep up with things
- Snap N Drag – Screen capture utility I mentioned in previous posts. I use this all the time as well. Excellent tool.
- BBEdit 8.5 – BBEdit is an HTML editor for the MacIntosh platform. Its the only thing I’ve found comparable to HomeSite for the Macintosh. I’m using a trial version of this application right now, but there is a good chance that when the 30 day trial ends, I’ll be buying a copy. It makes HTML authoring a hell of a lot easier than Emacs.
- UberCaster – This is podcasting software. I have a license for it, but I haven’t had the time to muck about with it. By far the easiest podcasting software I’ve seen so far for the Macintosh. The software is currently in beta.
Some additional software I’m looking at that looks useful, but I don’t have need for it yet:
- Xyle Scope – CSS exploration tool. I’ve messed around with this a bit and it looks really interesting. I haven’t found another tool like it so far. Allows you to explore CSS and how the styles are resolved on your page.
I’m still looking for good image editing software that doesn’t cost a bajillion dollars (like Photoshop) and doesn’t require X-Windows to be installed. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.
The Subversion team has released version 1.4 of its popular version control software. You can check out the release notes over at the official site get the the details, but here’s a summary of the changes, pulled directly from the aforementioned release notes:
- svnsync, a new repository mirroring tool
- Huge working-copy performance improvements
- Support for BerkeleyDB 4.4 and its “auto recovery” feature
- Size improvements to the binary delta algorithm
- A handful of new command switches
- Many improved APIs
- More than 40 new bugfixes
I was going to post about this yesterday, but I wanted to make sure I had the software built and installed here at the Labs before throwing the link out there. The upgrade went relatively well. Since I still use Berkeley DB for some of the repositories here, I build my own software to minimize the amount of dumping / loading I have to do. Currently I am still running Berkely DB 4.2. Referencing this during the build allowed me to avoid some problems people have reported using pre-packaged distributions that upgrade Berkeley DB for you, rendering your repository useless. Building my own also allows me to get the software without waiting for the binary distributions to become available.
One note on the upgrade. I’ve been a little lax in upgrading my Apache server (also custom built) and was running version 2.0.48 or so. The new release requires an up to date version of the apr libraries, so this also forced me to upgrade Apache to 2.0.59. Overall, the upgrade was painless.
As mentioned above, this release also includes the svnsync tool, which is a repository mirroring tool. From what I’ve read so far, the destination mirror must remain read only – there is no synchronization between two duplicate repositories (at least from the limited reading material I’ve found around so far), so this release by no means invalidates the SVK tool. Nevertheless, the working copy improvements and the mirroring capability shows that the team is still on the right track.
Also noted in the release notes:
… the new working copy format allows the client to more quickly search a working copy, detect file modifications, manage property metadata, and deal with large files. The overall disk footprint is smaller as well, with fewer inodes being used. Additionally, a number of long standing bugs related to merging and copying have been fixed.
I’m going to reserve judgement on these improvements until I get the Solaris boxes at work upgraded. The working copies are really an Achilles heel on Solaris environments, where 20 or so developers use one machine to do all development. We’ve had a number of inode-maxouts over the last year or so. When I get these machines upgraded, I’ll post a follow up on the performance on Solaris.
One other enhancement I’m glad to see, the diff and merge commands now support a -c option which you can use to merge one revision between branches. This allows you to avoid using a revision range for a simple one revision merge. This should simplify things a bit …
Subversion is still, overall, the best version control tool I’ve worked with thus far (and I’ve worked with quite a few of them). Kudos to the team on the new release. I like what I see so far …
If you’ve been looking for a tool to make podcasting much easier than using Audacity, you might want to check out Castblaster. I’ve used it for quite some time and each release it just gets better and better.
If you don’t feel like downloading the software, but are curious as to what you could get from it, check out the screencast. Yes, it can be that easy.
Back in June, Tom the Architect posted about something called Dabble DB that he said was pretty impressive. He described it as “collaborative data management, authoring, and publishing web application”. I made mental note to check it out (Tom doesn’t normally recommend stuff on his blog unless its exceptionally cool) but as most mental notes go, I forgot about it. That is, until I saw Tim Brays post from yesterday talking about how he invested in the company.
After reading this, I remembered Tom’s post and went over to check it out. I watched the seven minute demo and was completely blown away.
As you watch the demo think about the amount of data in any large corporation that is managed in spreadsheets. I had recently made a comment to someone that Excel seems to be the largest Enterprise Data Management tool used after seeing the number of extremely large spreadsheets in a meeting we were attending together. All of this data is passed here and there, modified, forwarded on, until there are so many versions of it you have no idea which one is correct anymore.
That is the beauty of Dabble DB. It allows you to pull this data into a centralized repository, refactor it into a normalized format on the fly, and even calendar the data if you have timestamps in the data model. The benefits of unifying all of that data tracked in spreadsheets is just too much to even comprehend given the pricing model that the company is offering the service for.
I do see one small problem though. Everyone talks about “software as a service” as the next “big thing” and I agree – in an ideal world. However, in the “not so ideal world” that most large corporations live in I see this model (or, more specifically, providing this model only) as a huge detriment to adoption in large companies who do not like to have their data hosted by a third party vendor. Given the volume of data tracked in spreadsheets of a confidential nature, I see this as a huge barrier for adoption. Until large businesses go through a major cultural shift in which they understand that they do not have to own and maintain all of the systems that their data resides, the audience that Dabble can have a huge effect on is limited to those “new companies” who get the “Web 2.0” thing (or whatever we are calling it these days) – and quite frankly, this is not the audience that needs them the most.
The fact that Dabble does not offer an option to host the application internally for a customer (that I could find on their web site anyway), in my opinion, may be the one thing that keeps them from actually providing the huge benefit they could provide to the user base that needs them most.
All that rambling aside though, this is one cool application. I think to really appreciate it you need to see it. Check out the demo and tell me this isn’t one of the coolest things you’ve ever seen!
Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the “river of news” type of newsreaders, and would rather see a list of sites that I can categorize under folders that I can check conveniently. When I was on Windows, I used FeedDemon after hearing about it from Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and I really liked the application a lot. It was perfect for me.
Since moving to the Mac though, I’ve been unable to find something as easy for me to use as FeedDemon, so I’ve just made due with Google Reader.
That is, until I found Vienna.
Vienna is an open source RSS news reader for the Apple Macintosh. It has a feature set comparable to Feed Demon. It also supports “Smart Folders”, which are a way of defining search criteria to automagically group posts based on filter criteria.
The reader also supports tabbed browsing, using WebKit – really nice if you are looking for “continuity of experience” – not having to jump from app to app in order to finish a unit of work.
I was able to pull my current subscriptions from Google Reader as an OPML file and import them straight into Vienna. No muss, no fuss. The application is very stable, I’ve found no bugs or issues that have gotten in my way since starting to use it a couple of weeks ago – and I find it much more to my liking than Google Reader was. I can look for specific site updates without scrolling all over the place or trying to figure out keyboard shortcuts. There are too many features to list here without being redundant, but their site has a list of the features included in the application, so check it out if your curious.
The best part about Vienna is that the source code is available. If you don’t like something, you can tweak it.
I’ve had a very positive experience with this news reader and recommend it highly to anyone looking for a news reader for Mac OS X.