Shortcuts MKII

7 03 2009

Time for some annoyance. TinyURL has changed ever so slightly in the last week, meaning that custom urls (tinyurl.com/your-text-here) are no longer possible. So MCSMS has switched allegiance to bit.ly – and the same principle follows:

http://bit.ly/mcsmsEpisode-Number

And for those who didn’t know about the TinyURL system, this means that Episode 10 is http://bit.ly/mcsms10 and so on. Episode 7.1 is http://bit.ly/mcsms7-1 and the Christmas episode is http://bit.ly/mcsms-xmas. There will be a short delay before every link works (I’m still in the process of creating them), but before long, MCSMS shortcuts will be back to normal.





Delicious Library: A Review

4 03 2009

After showing the grandparents Delicious Library’s iSight scanning feature, they set me on a mammoth of a task; they wanted me to set up a catalogue of all their books. And what a mammoth that was. A big, furry, brown, knock-your-door-down woolly mammoth. They have a three-part floor-to-ceiling bookcase with 18 total shelves, 6 shelves in the study and two bookcases in the bedroom, 8 total shelves. The shelves in the study and bedroom are stacked two deep on every shelf. As you can probably guess, this took quite a while, giving me some very extensive use of Delicious Library (Version 1). So what was it like?

Setting Up The Library

Getting the library to the point of being able to start the process was a doddle. Just open the app and there it was, ready to import all the books. I wanted to sort all the books by location, so I added a virtual shelf for each physical shelf in the house. This was very quick and easy to do, just clicking the “+” sign at the bottom of the Collections panel added each one.

Importing The Books

Importing the books was also simple, and even quite fun. The main way of importing is using the iSight camera (unless you already had a wired one, there’s no way to get one now – only built-ins available now) to scan the barcodes of the books. Any cynical readers out there will most definitely be saying to themselves right now, “That can’t possibly work for every single book”. And in some ways, you’re actually right. 97% of the barcodes I scanned did work, and Delicious picked up, from Amazon, what the book was from the scan. Another 2.9% of them didn’t actually have barcodes (they are my Grandparents, remember), or the barcodes were too old to still work on Amazon, or the books were American and so had different barcodes. The last 0.1% just refused to scan altogether. However, this last 3% was easy to import still because of the fact that you can search for a title, author, or ISBN number – which means that no book is impossible to import.

Organising The Library

Obviously there’s no point importing all those books without doing anything with them. I was planning on sorting by location, so I moved the books to their appropriate shelves by dragging. This was very intuitive. To be able to then sort by location later, all I had to do was select them, click in the Location  In Building field and typing in the location – Study, Shelf 4, for example. There was also the option to add custom art – that is, the picture shown for the front cover of the book.

Sharing The Library

Seeing as they wanted the library to remember where all their books were, I needed to export the library to give it to them. This is where the disappointment came. There was only one option: to export as a .txt file. Even this was, to be honest, rubbish. It doesn’t get formatted and isn’t even set out logically. To get the library to them, I had to download the free trial of Library 2 so that I could export it to Excel. I was not happy about this.

Report Card

Set-Up – 5/5          Importing – 5/5          Organisation – 5/5          Exporting – 0/5

Overall – 15/20

Final Thoughts: Delicious Library is a great app, but it is let down on its one export feature. If I had the option, I’d get Version 2, but I don’t. I recommend you do though.






Life With A MacBook – Day 1

28 12 2008

So it’s been about 27 hours since I first pressed the power switch on my shiny new computer. I’ve had to do about 12 updates, and three of these required a system restart, but that didn’t take long. Most of the applications I’m going to want are installed, including Photoshop Elements 6, Adium, Skype, NetNewsWire, Audacity, WireTap Pro and Office 2008. All day today I’ve been playing with it, customising settings and whatnot, and watched an hour and 40 minutes of TV shows and movies transferred from my iPod in between downloads. I also spent about three hours searching for a suitable case for it, and eventually found one on Amazon for about £13. I have just given up looking for a free alternative to Coda, because I can’t find one. Oh well. It’s not overly important – it was just for fun stuff like making Dock Icons for Adium. Finally, I’ve been getting used to Quıcĸsıɩⅴεʀ, the “unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data.” It’s rather nifty; I can open an application by typing four keystrokes – for example, S-A-F-Return opens Safari – and play a song from iTunes without going anywhere near my music library. I’m off to have some more quality Me & MacBook time. Bye bye!





Super-Ultra-Mega-Yay!

27 12 2008

MacBook2008I’m really, really, really, really, really happy! Do you know why? It’s because I don’t need to order my new MacBook any more! We went into Brighton today, to Solutions, and bought it! In fact, I’m typing this post from “Mr MacBook”! I was in the process of adding bookmarks to Safari and downloading my favourite applications such as NetNewsWire and Adium when I realised that I needed to post about it! I got a 13″ Aluminium MacBook with 2GB RAM (more than my iMac at home!) and a 160GB hard drive (Less than my iMac at home) and it’s rather nice. It has a multi-touch trackpad so I can swipe with different combinations of fingers for different effects – for example, a three-finger swipe to the left in Safari is essentially the same as pressing the Back button in the browser. It’s really good! And the best part is, it’s all mine! No-one to tell me what applications I can install or anything! Yay!

I’m off to do some more customising. See you soon!





Poladroid

26 10 2008

A new application was recommended to me today called Poladroid. You feed it an image from your computer and it processes it to look like an old Polaroid photo. You even have to wait for it to develop! There’s a demo video here. I also have some before and after shots:

So, it’s fun to use (you can even shake the developing images to make them show up quicker) and produces Polaroid-like results. I’ve even noticed that it discolours the photos slightly, just like a real Polaroid! Also, when you have ten images on your desktop, if you try to make another one, a dialog box will pop up:

How realistic is that? There is some bad news though. Firstly, the instruction manual and some of the menus are in French. Second, it’s Mac only, so tough luck, Windows users! I’ve had fun using it and although it’s a tad pointless, I won’t be deleting it just yet!

It’s time for another first on Mr Cheese’s Random Ramblings: a poll!





I Won!

21 10 2008

I got an email at school informing me that I had won Photoshop Phriday. It’s a fortnightly competition where we are told the fortnight’s theme and we have to create a Photoshop image on that theme. This time it was Dinosaurs – What If They Never Went Extinct. It was me that won, obviously, and for my efforts I won a miniature Mars bar. Do you want to see my winning picture? Here you go:





Flickr-Tastic!

19 10 2008

I thought I would remind you that every so often, I create a little something in Photoshop, and that 97.645% of the time, I upload said something to Flickr. If you want to see my little somethings, go to my Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrcheese and you can comment on them and things of similar effect. I even uploaded something new today!

I also got my last birthday present today (It makes up for the early one because it’s late) – two, count them, two £15 iTunes vouchers! This means that in total this year I have received £50 of iTunes money! I don’t think I’ll be running out very soon, do you?