Tag Archives: apps

Not sure this has a better solution

So I’ve trying to step up my reccing game. It shouldn’t be hard since I’m almost starting from scratch; I didn’t manage to consistently update the Scriptogr.am blog I made for it, but it’s kind of more complex than I’d like.

The whole idea behind using Scriptogr.am for this was to automate as much as possible, as well as to get into using Markdown more.

First I used IFTTT to scrape a specific tag on my Pinboard account. but I ran then into the same issue I’m running into now: IFTTT can only append a .txt file on Dropbox. And Scriptogr.am wants .md files.

What I used to do was to try and once a week go and manually grab all the automatically scraped / formatted markdown from the .txt file that IFTTT had updated and Copy-paste this in an .md file that Scriptogr.am would recognize as a post. But it grew tedious; I forgot; it wasn’t the solution I wanted.

Right now I’m leaning towards using the ready-made HTML markup that AO3 generates with its Share button, and I was looking into finally learning how to use Quicksilver to append text to a file (say, a file to feed Scriptogr.am), but again I ran into that problem: an .md file IS a plain text file but Quicksilver only reads files with the extensions txt, .rtf, .rtfd, .doc and .TEXT

Siiiiigh. I’m now contemplating using Hazel to watch over a given .txt file and make a copy of it with the .md extension every time I update it; I think it would work, but how clumsy is that? Ugh.

Meanwhile, prodding at this issue also made me realize that another problem arising from the AO3 not having media-type differentiation (yet) and metadata-specificity is that the Share button for a podfic post doesn’t give any indication as to the author of the fic, which means I have to add it in myself even when trying to automate – it might not seem like a big deal but it can easily become a barrier to casual/rapid reccing, imo.

links/recs for audio & video grabbing

A discussion with Sophinisba on twitter reminded me that I meant to post about these little tech things in case they proved useful for others, so here we go! A post of tips / links.

  • To grab embedded video I use the plug-in called VideoDownloadHelper for Firefox. It doesn’t work for everything, bc of the escalating tech war between video embed provider and the so-called pirates, but it works on certain sites, not just YouTube, and allows me to collect my favorite actor interviews and the like better than I would without it, so.

  • To grab Youtube vids, if I’m not using my FF plugin, I use the standalone java program called JDownloader (I know it’s not the first time I mention it here, Toby turned me onto it a couple of years ago). What I love about it is that it gives me a choice of formats to download, and one of those is MP3. It means I can quickly, painlessly download the sound from a vid I like (again, good for interviews if I want them on my iPod; good for amazing mashups you don’t know how to find elsewhere, etc. I don’t use it for music much, personally.)

  • If I want to grab the sound from a thing, especially a short thing, to use it in my own editing / podfic / podcast work, I don’t usually do the “download mp3” route – sometimes I can’t, anyway, if it’s not on Youtube or whatever – then I use Soundflower, which is a free Mac service/thing that allows you to tell your computer “record the sound straight from the source” to keep the quality optimum. I use it in combination with [Sound Studio] because that’s what I use for recording and editing, but you can use it with any other software – all Soundflower does is telling the computer what to use for “sound in” and “sound out”.

I really recommend this tool. It’s a small free thing, easy to handle, and can be life-saving.

Soundflower has also been useful to me when making a podcast from a Skype convo. There are several ways to do that, but the one time I did it successfully was with Templemarker last year for our pod_aware conversation. (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

To make sure the sound quality would be okay, we each of us recorded our side of the conversation only. Then she sent me her files and I integrated them with mine. The way Soundflower helped me here is that when I recorded my side, I told Soundflower to grab the sound straight from my mic, so I wouldn’t have to remove templemarker’s voice from my track later on.

It didn’t work perfectly because I somehow had a very faint trace of her voice in my recording, but that proved a godsend, because it actually served to help me align both recordings exactly later on before merging, so, yay. I don’t know how she recorded her side, but there was no trace of my voice in hers. The whole process took some time but was a whole lot smoother than I had expected, and I think the resulting recording is very nice indeed, for a Skype conversation recorded by amateurs without lots of great hardware or specifically dedicated bandwidth.

Just for the record, another way to do a podcast from a Skype convo on a Mac is to use Piezo – which I have indeed used for recording conversations but haven’t used to produce podcasts yet. 

I’m sure there are plenty other ways (tell me if you know them!) but that’s what I can talk about today. :D

twitter problems

First off, thank you everyone for the apps recs since last time! I haven’t played much with adding any yet, but I’m sure I will when my schedule calms down. For now I’m either helping Mom move furniture or going to Ikea or fighting with the resulting Ikea purchases or nursing a case of heat exhaustion, so the tablet is basically just a part of my “sit down and relax” process, and I’ve been using it to check email, read twitter and read downloaded fanfic (yayyyy!).

Speaking of Twitter, here’s a run down of the issues I am encountering – writing them down will help me researching other clients later on, I hope:

Twicca issues:

  • It visibly flags the fact that I have new @replies or DMs but neglects to flag the presence of new tweets in my timeline. To load updates (for any of those 3 types) I need to press the reload button;
  • I like the range of options / actions that comes on for a tweet when I select/touch it, BUT that happens even when there’s a link in the tweet and I press the link directly. Meaning I always need two clicks to get to a linked page or image – not cool;
  • There’s no image preview in the tweets, which really sucks.

Tweetcaster issues:

  • too much screen estate lost to vertical left-hand side toolbars I could summon when needed (or which could be more discreet buttons / an auto-hiding bar, etc);
  • the icons are huge, which is, again, a screen estate problem, but on top of it is ugly – overall, the screen feels very ‘unbalanced’;
  • some tweet-related actions are too buried for my taste;
  • there’s an ever present horizontal white bar at the bottom of the screen like a piece is missing – unexplained, ugly, baffling.

Basically, my love affair with Tweetbot on iOS continues unabated, and I am in a permanent state of sadness that it doesn’t exist for Mac (yet) nor for Android.

If you have more/other recs for twitter clients, don’t hesitate to chime in!


So I got a Nexus 7. :D :D :D

This is my first Android device! I think I’m going to need a lot of help figuring things out, but that’s okay bc I have plenty of friends.

Interestingly, even though this device was bought in the US and I chose to keep the OS in English as I was activating it didn’t stop it from deciding to talk to me in French in the Play store and app recs, etc – I suppose it’s a feature of the geolocation from before I turned off the GPS. (This is dumb! WHO SAYS I SPEAK FRENCH when I buy a US device & set the OS in English?!)

As a result, the three (free) book propositions offered to me from the Play Book thing were by Proust, Voltaire & Verne. Out of curiosity I opened A la Recherche du temps perdu, and what did I find? There’s no space before any of the double punctuation marks, which is the rule in French. Let me tell you, I will NOT be reading Proust with English-style semi-colons and colons everywhere. Ugh, ebooks quality. LANGUAGES ARE DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER EVEN WHEN THEY USE THE SAME ALPHABET, dammit. /rant

So far, here’s what I installed:

  • Sleipnir
  • Twicca & Tweetcaster
  • Aldiko
  • Skitch
  • 1Password Reader
  • Dropbox
  • Pinboard
  • Instagram
  • Feedly
  • Flipboard

Some are apps I already use on the iPhone/iPod Touch and knew I wanted, and some are stuff I didn’t really have on those devices but connect to services I already do use (laptop, etc), like Pinboard and 1Password – I don’t miss 1Password on the iPod bc I don’t do lots of shit there that I need it for, but I knew I would miss it on the tablet where I’ll probably do more web surfing, etc.

And some are apps I have never used yet, like Sleipnir (a browser that’s been specifically made to tightly integrate surfing with mobile use? I am unclear on it yet, just want to check it out) and Flipboard, which I might never use but have been curious about for a while.

I think I like Tweetcaster’s functionality/UI better in terms of actions but I like the display of Twicca better, so I’m a little torn.

Here’s an issue I hadn’t foreseen that both have: since Twitter’s new API TOS changes, clients don’t allow you to RT a locked tweet even in an editable mode where you can remove the tweeter’s name. On the laptop I can still select a locked tweet’s text & “easily” paste it without the username in the edit box, add RT: or RT (locked): and send it off. But on the tablet, at least in those clients, selecting the text of a tweet for C/P is not possible. That’s going to cramp my twitter style a LOT, considering a ton of my friends are locked but don’t object to being RT’d in this way. Sigh. (If you have a Twitter client that allows that, please rec it to me!)

What I’ve done with it:

  • dealt w/ email, which is fun and smooth
  • downloaded epubs from AO3 & import them into Aldiko
  • wrapped it up in a ziplock back to read fic in the bath <3
  • (later, went back to click on the link at the end of the fic to go leave a comment on the AO3 page, yay)
  • learned how to navigate the settings somewhat
  • thought, eventually, of downloading the user manual to not fumble too much :D
  • read through my feeds w/ feedly – which I’ve used a little on the iPod but haven’t really mastered very much yet. (any hints welcome)

Mysteries I need to solve:

  • How does one do file management on this? I haven’t seen a pre-installed app that seemed the obvious answer to that – are there apps I need to download to do that?
  • Can I, say, download a Youtube video to keep it somewhere on there so I can watch it later? Probably, right? I just have to find out how.

What I’m going to need / test-drive later:

  • a good text editor or several (I use 3 on the iPod, and about 3 on the Mac too, so, yeah)
  • a podcast management app maybe?
  • a todo list / task manager, perhaps, OR a text editor able to open/recognize TaskPaper files (they are plain text but with their own extension, some apps are baffled by this, sadly)
  • a Tumblr app that sort of works? Does that exist for Android?
  • an app for Ravelry (I recently started using Wooly on the iPod, it’s promising…)
  • a PDF management / annotation / reading app that’s not my ebook reader, to deal with my knitting patterns
  • a row-counter / needle-gauge app maybe?
  • other things I’m not thinking of right now.

ALL RECS AND ANDROID BABBLE APP TALK WELCOME, please tell me things! Sell me things! Warn me off things so I can avoid the worst mistakes!

I am a n00b, please help school me gently. If you’re so inclined. :D

Looking forward to: TaskPaper & Scrivener

I’m having kind of a frazzled day where I know I have enough energy to get things done but I can’t settle down and focus on one thing.

Which led me to retool my todo lists and reminded me that I have yet to tell you how much I’m drooling over TaskPaper. It doesn’t do automatically-recurring tasks (and won’t, the FAQ says so), and it’s not on the web, though it does cloud-syncing to iOS devices (but nothing says I can’t make my own HTML from the txt files if I want to roll out my own web thing) – but apart from that I think it does pretty much everything I need, want and even crave from a todo application.

I know there are tons of them, and the geeky procrastinator part of me wants to check a dozen others out before settling, all while the anxious part of me is reluctant to start yet another trial with yet another tool that’s going to cost money soon – but I’m all ♥____♥ at it anyway.

Do any of you use it? I’d love to hear your comments!

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This is the sound of time rushing by while I juggled too many balls (dropped a few) and tore my hair out over computer mysteries.

I’m not going to try to be very structured; I’m not in the mood and it would take me too long.

Five Things: 4 text editors I have at this moment installed on Ariadne the MBP, and another I will soon install.

SublimeText 2
Mou (“the missing Markdown editor for web developers”)

I installed Multimarkdown yesterday, and then the MMD bundle for TextMate, and then I spent an hour NOT UNDERSTANDING why it wasn’t working. After a while Math came to hold my hand on AIM, and it turned out I was making my test with a command that is in the doc but not in the soft, so it was unsurprisingly not working. ANASMASH. (hey TextMate dudes: don’t publish faulty documentation. BAD DOCS ARE WORSE THAN NO DOCS)

So I’m slowly learning to use MMD (she says, while writing a post in the WordPress interface without using MMD shorthand at all…). This is a goal of mine.

TextMate, now, yes, it seems SUPER CLEVER and very, um, handy? Or, say, potentially handy? But also… probably too much for me. I’m not a coder, after all, and I’m still not sure I grok how it works, and soon my trial will expire… I just don’t know how much of myself I want to put into that learning curve.

So I think I’m going to focus on MMD (here’s a special episode of the MacPowerUsers podcast about it), try to use Mou and see if I like it, and of course, eventually (next paycheck, whenever that is) the amaaaaazing-love-it-forever Scrivener.

Other links (stuff I haven’t tried yet):

how to make your Library folder visible (it’s hidden by default in Lion, grrrr)
iTerm 2, a terminal emulator / replacement for iTerm
Forklift, a file manager, FTP client and more
PathFinder 5, a file manager / Finder replacement

– not a Mac thing but an iPhone/iTouch app: a better (I heard) calendar, WeekCalendar.

I still haven’t installed any sort of launcher (Launcher, Quicksilver) but I’m also not using Spotlight to launch apps – haven’t gotten started using Spotlight, honestly. I click and use the Launchpad, which I’m only now starting to find irritatingly long/unefficient. I also still haven’t solved the iTunes question, nor the backup problem.


Let’s put this on the table right away: I haven’t yet solved the big questions.

* Which iTunes becomes the “master” iTunes for my iDevices (staying as is, with the PC as my main computer, or bestowing that privilege to the Mac?)

* How do I rejig my storage and backup strategies to include the Mac in the plans?

These remain unanswered for now.

Now, what’s been going on…

° I still have these two blog posts open in tabs, trying to make a decision:

John Gruber on getting rid of Flash & cheating w/ Chrome
Lex Friedman on reinstalling it

° I found Fluid, a wrapper to allow you to make any web-app into a ‘standalone’ app.

° It is with relief and not a small amount of joy that I installed Firefox & my trusted/necessary extensions, as well as my favorite download manager, jDownloader. Even though for a mysterious (non-mac) reason, I haven’t managed to “connect” the FlashGot FF add-on to jDownloader like I have on the PC (which allows me to select a link on a page and automatically trigger a download for it), I’m still pleased to have my usual tools at my fingertips. :)

° I’m still pining for a text editor I like, but since I haven’t tried anything but the pre-installed TextEdit I can’t honestly say I haven’t found anything – I just haven’t dealt with the issue. In the meantime it means I’m doing my blog-post writing either inside the WordPress editor (for this blog) or on the PC (for my other blogs / my journals / fic beta-reading, etc unless I edit in WordPress and then CP out of there, which has happened). This can’t continue very long. note to self: get yourself a proper text editor.

° I’ve started using Evernote on the iTouch a little more, which makes me think I need to install the Mac version and see how I like it.

° Not mac-specific: I’ve discovered and starting using ifttt.com, which I’m a little too addled at the moment to describe – the domain name stands for ‘if this then that’ and their tagline is ‘put internet to work for you’. You should read the about page, which has a lovely, direct URL: http://ifttt.com/wtf

° I’ve been doing recording and sound-editing on the Mac and I am floored every time anew by the quality of the built-in mic for voicework, as well as the pleasure and ease I experience doing editing with my fingers on the trackpad. Plus now my new Snowball mic arrived, whee! There is a LOT of podfic work in my future. <3 That's it for today, I think.

Boomerang, podcasts, & links.

So I’ve started using Mailplane. So far, so good. I really like that it allows me to double click to log in and out of MANY gmail accounts, not just 3 as with Google’s easy-account switching solution. I will probably be faster with it when I learn to use kb shortcuts more (but then I have failed to learn using them in gmail all along, too, so nobody hold their breath).

Then while watching the demo videos for it, I stumbled onto Boomerang, a gmail plugin (pre-existing Mailplane, and compatible with it) that allows you to bounce things out of your inbox temporarily and have them come back at you (boomerang) at a later date. It also does a few other things, all great/handy. (There are also things you can do with apps script to snooze an email in gmail, apparently.)


I suspect I am the wrong person to use this, since I will probably send EVERYTHING boomeranging across the ether, like I tend to send everything to Read It Later (and only read a very tiny fraction of the things, later). But nevertheless I am ENCHANTED to have found this and thought others might be interested in it too.

By the way, here’s a link to the MacPowerUsers podcast I’m listening to at the moment (I started with the first Merlin Mann Workflow episode because that’s how I heard about them, but I downloaded many of the past episodes), and here’s the Back to Work podcast where Merlin officiates weekly. The show notes for many past episodes (of both podcasts) are teeming with good links, whether you choose to listen or not. They make interesting lists to peruse.

What else? More apps-related things, with links / thoughts.

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Today’s adventures

I spent part of the afternoon moving / re-plugging the very old desktop PC that serves as a “guest” machine, and which was lying around in pieces after I moved it off to appropriate its ex-location for my new standing desk.

It’s a very, very slow machine running XP (family/home edition). I have this project of making it run a lightweight Linux version sometime in the future, but not until I’m sure I can run the &$@#!*@#% printer/scanner from MY desktop PC.

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Quickly, to start catching up

I’ve been sitting on many of the things I should have put in this blog while I was finding a name for it & then setting it up, so here’s a jumble of things I jotted down on a notebook.

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