Feb 29, 2012

Time Tracking Solutions: Toggl

Had a look at a few time tracking solutions. It's easy to loose the overview of how much time you spent on a project if you work on a lot of different projects at the same time. So, I did search for a good solution that fits me. The few requirements I had where as follows:
  • very easy to use (else I won't use it for long)
  • cloud/server based (as I want to use/access the same data on all devices I use)
  • multi-platform (I use Windows, Android and Linux daily. WP7 would be a nice bonus)
  • decent overview of time spent on projects (graphical analysis of some sort)
  • free (for personal use. As I only use it privately. Very cheap would be acceptable but I rather go for free in this case)
My choice fall onto Toggl. Mostly they do everything over a website. Their platform apps (Win, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS) are basically a container displaying the website. As the website is very well done this does work well as long as you have internet access. I'm not sure how far they use HTML5 to make it possible to use it while not having access to the internet. As having internet is usually not a problem for me I don't care too much about that.

I think Toggl is a really neat time tracking solution for projects. It's very simple and has a nice structure. Tagging tasks is a neat bonus I don't really use but still nice to have just in case. I'm curious how long I'll keep using this ...

The Truth on Google+

Why Google+ Doesn’t Care If You Never Come Back | TechCrunch

I think this is very true. Google doesn't need you to come back again and again for Google+. They just need you to sign up and fill out the information, which most (including me) gladly do. Simple and effective add-targeting improvements. But still I kinda like Google+ more than Facebook. It's so much cleaner and nicer to user like most Google products.

Feb 20, 2012

ICSI Netalyzr

ICSI Netalyzr

it seems that this is a pretty cool (and useful) network analyzing tool. Need to remember that one ...

Feb 19, 2012

Multiple Canvases Support for AWT

Badlogic Games • View topic - Multiple Canvases Support (WIP)

love that my code was already useful to someone else. So now there is a working AWT backend for libGDX as well as a SWT backend which are both able to render to multiple canvases. nicely done. This is how Open Source is supposed to work ...

Feb 12, 2012

Need A Hardware Upgrade

So, I decided that I need some hardware upgrades. I really didn't buy much in 2011, so it's time to replace some old stuff and extend some of the not so old stuff. As hardware selection is a complex thing with lots of things to consider I put together a small list. Maybe someone has a similar taste in hardware and finds it handy. So here it is:
  1. My main PC needs a second monitor. I like to use (and have one now) a 16:10, 23"+ and IPS panel monitor. I've decided that I want this baby here: HP ZR2440w (my current one is a HP LP2475w)
  2. Also I want to replace my main mobile phone (an HTC HD2 running Android) with something new. This is a hard choice as I love the Nokia N9 but want to have an Android phone as well. I think the N9 would be the right phone for me. Maybe I'm just gonna keep the HD2 for Android development.
  3. Thinking of buying a tablet. Lots of them are coming out this year. I guess I'll likely wait till later in the year to decide what I want. The Spark may be a nice one for me to play around with. But maybe I'm waiting for something better and bigger. Who knows ..
  4. I'm still looking for a good hardware solution to wake me up in the morning. I like to wake up to some nice music. Sonos offers some nice things I would like but is rather expensive.
  5. Looking into digital cameras. Want something better than my mobile phone cam (which is horrible). Would love a Sony NEX-7 but its rather expensive for my taste (and from Sony). So I guess I'm going with a Panasonic DMC GX1 for now. The H-PS14042E lense (or a similar) would be nice if it happens to fit. Maybe I make that my birthday present :).
  6. And finally I need to replace my aging Netbook (can't play those HD videos). It's an old Dell Mini 10 and I'm not sure what I want to replace it with. Maybe that's gonna be replaced by a tablet. 
I'll see what I'm actually going to buy. Nice new things to play around with this year. The first and most important thing will be the second monitor as its just so nice to work with that. The rest is more for toying around with anyways :) ...

Feb 10, 2012

Small Details Matter A Lot!

For me, today is one of those sad, sad days. Everything was fine until I did read this blogpost on OMG Ubuntu!. It struck me like lightning. Is it already April the 1st? No. What the hell did happen there? What went wrong. I've been using this happily since it's introduction. It's not a great feature, it's an AWESOME one! This made the Unity Launcher matter to me. Now it's basically back to what every other launcher on every other OS does. Big bummer ...

I still remember very well the first time I stumbled over it. I remember how I played with it and later showed it to my flatmate and told him how awesome this feature is. And he agreed. It was love at first sight. We both use it and we both like it today. Back then it still was buggy, didn't work as expected all the time and had its quirks. But it was a feature that made the launcher stand out from others. At the time we all could see the potential. And I do not think that this potential has suddenly disappeared.

So, Mark Shuttleworth writes on the Ayatana Mailing List a few things on this topic. I do understand the reasoning behind the removal. But, in my opinion, completely axing the feature is a bit extreme. He writes the following:
So, based on that, we made the following design choices:
  1. To start with the launcher always visible. This is the least surprising starting position. Nothing happens unless the user commands it. 
  2. To expose an option of having the launcher hide, or be fixed.
  3. Not to offer a dodge option, because users who don't want it always there are perfectly capable of using it in plain hiding mode, and users who don't know what 'dodge' means don't have to spend time trying to parse it.
Point one is pretty clear, good and what should be the case and is expected. Second point doesn't say much besides "no dodge". Third one is a bit tricky. Yes, users who don't know what "dodge" means shouldn't be confronted with it out of the box (point 1). And, yes, users who use dodge can also use plain hiding mode, as they can use always visible mode (hey, they are advanced users!). But what the hide mode users really want is a good implemented dodge mode! As that's the evolution of simple hiding.

To me, dodge is definitely a feature for advanced users. It's basically an improvement to the always hide mode. It's that small detail that transforms the launcher behavior from good (that it hides) to awesome (that it dodges when it would waste space otherwise). It's nicer and makes one feel like the launcher has some intelligence to it. If I have my desktop visible, I want the launcher to be visible. There is no reason to hide it except laziness of the programmers to implement a better behavior. Especially as likely the next thing I do is launch one of those pinned "important" apps of mine. With a hidden launcher that needs more effort from my side.

There has only been one thing that still is annoying about the dodge feature. In the current release it shows as soon as you touch the left screen edge with you mouse. This is annoying for some programs. Especially graphic applications, like Gimp or Inkscape as they have icon toolbars there. But guess what!? They fixed that by introducing edge resistance (which is awesome too!) in the newest alphas for the next LTS. So now that dodge would have been perfect they axe it completely instead of making it an option for advanced users. Personally, I would rather axe the always hide mode.

A sad, sad day indeed. I just say, details matter and this is one of those details that did matter a lot. And definitely not only to me. This is the additional attention to detail and polish that is needed to make something awesome. I hope they leave it in for the LTS release as an hidden option. Furthermore, I hope someone will add this feature over some Compiz plugin to later versions of Unity. It's been too useful to just disappear completely.