Low Cost MacOSX image editing/illustration tools


I came across PixelMator via TUAW today. For the price of US$ 59. It seems to be a very slick tool for someone who is looking for some sophisticated image editing tools without paying for the cost of Photoshop. As TUAW says

The demo showcases some impressive Pixelmator features, including working with multiple layers and objects, opening Photoshop files and moving layers from one image to another, taking a picture with an iSight camera and embedding it into the current working image, and even some slick blending modes.

LineformAnother low cost application is Lineform which at US$ 79 is a steal for its features and its UI design. It’s the winner of the 2006 Apple Design awards

Categories: Mac OSX

Interesting software for Mac OSX

May 24, 2007 Comments off

Still life with roses and satinI have been using MacOSX for some time and of the things I have found unique to this operating system is that their is some awesome software available at low cost available for it. A piece of software in particular I would like to mention is ArtRage which is not exclusively MacOSX, it’s also available for Windows but as the image on the right shows, with the right creative talent one can create stunning masterpieces. The artwork is by Karachi based painter Waheed Nasir who was the featured artist in December 2006 on Wacom’s Community site. Artrage is available for US$ 19.95 and it has a free edition too. Feature comparision between the free and paid version is available here

I also like the OmniGroups OmniGraffle application









For instant messaging, my choice is AdiumXDownload

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Categories: Mac OSX

Upgraded to WordPress 2.2

May 16, 2007 Comments off

I had been looking forward to WordPress 2.2 being released though I miss having tagging as part of core. I shall probably investigate Ultimate Tag Warrior one of these days
The upgrade was relatively straightforward and the new release incorporates Widgets as part of the core. I googled a bit and came across this neat Category Cloud Widget which just dropped in neatly.
I’ll wait for a few days and then see if there are any other widget friendly themes so I can try a new look.
Looking forward to 2.3

Categories: Blogging Toolchains

Simpler way to upgrade WordPress

April 5, 2007 Comments off

I love WordPress and the ecosystem (plugins and themes) behind it. However, upgrading WordPress is generally a tiring event and not something I really look forward to. So when Mark Jaquith provided a diff to upgrade from 2.1.2 to 2.1.3, I quickly jumped on it.

A quick test with

 patch -p0 --dry-run < diff-file 

seemed to indicate no issues and then applied the patch for real

Categories: Blogging Toolchains

Amazing Multi Touch demo from Jeff Han

March 28, 2007 Comments off

Watching this wordless demo was definitely a jaw-dropping experience for me

Is this part of the secret features of MacOSX Leopard 🙂

Categories: Mac OSX

Information Entropy

Uber smart legal eagle-to-be and a man of not so few words Mohammed recently switched over to host his blog at WordPress.com instead of Blogger.

I didn’t come across Mohammed’s blog till only recently and his blogging style is unique to say the least. English is not my native language and Mohammed’s mastery of that language (not that he is a slouch in Arabic recitation) challenges my neurons in ways that I didn’t know possible :), yet I find something lacking which is hard to pin.

Maybe it’s his lack of links in a blog which doesn’t allow the reader to jump of to a tangent and contextualize some of the discussion. The length of each blog entry doesn’t necessarily correlate to the information one obtains at the end of its reading. Maybe this is what is really meant by ‘Information Entropy’ :). Being more parsimonious with words would enable a much higher bandwidth communication.

Mohammed, may I recommend use of Twitter so that your avid readers can get access to your pearls of wisdom at a faster pace and I guess in a more ‘sound-bite’ friendly fashion. Maybe a switch to a desktop blog editor such as Flock or even Windows Live Writer would infuse a change from the monologues with some judicious placements of random images from the blogosphere.

And please enable trackbacks

Categories: General, Humor

Innovating the Original

A while back, a cousin of my wife asked me what type of music I liked. I said “80’s music”

I’m a child of the 80s and I take great pride in it.

Recently I came across an 80’s classic, Stevie B’sSpring Love

The video can be funny to those used to the slick production of today

Recently I found out that ‘Spring Love’ was remixed into the New Millennium ‘Spring Love 2007’ in a collaboration between Pitbull and Stevie B

I’ll take the original over the innovation any day

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Categories: General

Early thoughts on NewsGator Online Beta

February 28, 2007 1 comment

My RSS newsreader of choice is NetNewsWire. I had purchased it a few months before Brent Simmons sold his company to NewsGator and as a result of that purchase, I was able to obtain a premium NewsGator Online subscription for 2 years which allowed for synchronization of my desktop Mac with the web-based reader.

The web-based reader NewsGator Online whilst functional was not known for its performance, an area touched upon by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch in a recent post which analysed market share of various online readers

Newsgator online, a feature fantastic service long plagued with deal-breaking performance problems, is trailing in third place with a mere %3 of views. The company’s desktop feed readers, NetNewsWire and FeedDemon, probably have a much larger percentage of views as they are older, more stable products.

After reading an editorial on ajaxian wrt newsgator perceived slowness, I wrote to a few newsgator employees and investors about some ideas I thought which might improve performance

I had discussed these in my community blog a while back

Brian Kellner (GM consumer) wrote back to me that they were going to launch an ajax version of their online reader which would reduce page refreshes and was optimized for client side caching. Today, I received instructions on how to access the beta site. The email from Brian indicated that it was okay to blog about it (yeah, no NDA unlike the Joost invite I got)

I fired up Fiddler and tried to analyse the network traffic. As someone who lives in a different continent to NewsGator servers in a city with tremendous local connectivity, web traffic analysis via a sniffer is a regular excercise

Some early disappointments

Looking at the traffic sent out by Newsgator Online beta via Fiddler , I see that there is a lot of request/response for content with type image/gif and image/jpeg coming from http://www.newsgator.com without any cache-friendly headers (Expires, Cache-Control)

Some Suggestions for performance improvement

Always send images with a Cache-Friendly header

Move the images to either a separate domain or a new sub-domain. Currently because the images are sent from newsgator.com, there is an unnecessary Cookie: header sent from the browser for all images. It should be easy for newsgator to buy a new domain and use that exclusively for image/static content serving.

An example of a request for http://www.newsgator.com/ngs/subscriber/reader/img/folderopen.gif generates a request of size 1025 bytes (dominated by the Cookie: header) for a response of 677 bytes which is further divided into an actual payload (image size) of 353 bytes and 324 bytes for the header. Remove the Cookie header and the request becomes only 334 bytes. One could tune the image server a bit and reduce the bytes used by the response header

Also, one would expect all html/javascript to be sent via Content-Encoding: gzip for all responses of those Content-type but there are quite a number of responses of those content type sent without being gzipped.

I can understand some reluctance with gzipping Javascript since there are quirks with IE (though if I remember correctly, IE6 SP2/IE 7 handles this correctly). Even use of jsmin would give around 25-30% reduction in size

On the bright side, page refreshes are reduced a lot in the beta.

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Upgraded to WordPress 2.1.1

February 21, 2007 Comments off

As mentioned in a previous post, I was going to upgrade to WordPress 2.1 after it’s release. Well, I had upgraded to it but didn’t mention it on this blog, today I decided to upgrade to 2.1.1 by creating a diff between 2.1 and 2.1.1. Going to turn on mysql query caching (if that’s possible at Dreamhost). Maybe I should ask Dreamhost support if query caching is enabled

Categories: Blogging Toolchains

Upgraded to WordPress 2.0.7

January 15, 2007 Comments off

As I mentioned in my last post, I was waiting for the release of WordPress 2.0.7 before upgrading this blog. Upgrade was smooth. I was considering adding support for WordPress widgets but may probably wait till 2.1 is released

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Categories: Blogging Toolchains
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