Category Software

Online Backup…

progress meter

Backup up online… 27.8GB left! 4 days, 12 hours to go. I need gigabit internet

Update: I canceled my Mozy account. It kept filling up my hard drive with “empty” data that could be erased. Forced me to do a reinstall twice. Crap! Now I’m using dropbox

Open Quickly: Coda Quick Tip

Open quickly dialog in Coda

Panic has added a new feature in Coda version 1.6 called Open Quickly. It’s basically spotlight for the files within your site’s project.

To access Open Quickly use the shortcut command ctrl + Q. Then just start typing in a few characters of the file name or folder you want to access.

It breaks down your results into sections: Top Hit, Documents, and Folders. Use the up and down arrows to highlight your selection and the enter key to open the document, or folder. By default opening a document will open it in the edit window. Opening a folder will show the contents of the folder in the file browser pane. By right-clicking any item in the result list you can choose to reveal the item in the finder or Coda’s file browser pane.

If you not able to find what you looking for then click the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner of the Open Quickly window. Here you can adjust which folder Open Quickly is searching. By default the Open Quickly will search the local root folder you have set-up for the site your working on. It will allow you to choose any folder to search.

Pixie Content Management System Review

 

Note: Oct. 9, 2008: I updated the Criticisms section.

pixie cms logo

 

Ease of Use

I recently installed Pixie CMS. To start I have to say I’m really impressed. It is easy to use and set up. Pixie also seems pretty flexible and customizable as well as having some pretty nice code. But I make my living building websites so it should be pretty easy for me. So what about the average person or, an even scarier scenario, a client.

If the end user isn’t familiar and comfortable with HTML and using URLs then I fear they may find creating content frustrating.

History

According to the getpixie.co.uk—home of the project—the CMS was created because the creator Scott Evans needed a website for his band. This was in about 2000 – 2002. He states:

…I found that most of them left me confused and frustrated. … After a long time searching it became apparent that I would be better off trying to make my own software, that worked in a way that was logical to me (and hopefully to you too).

The site doesn’t say when the CMS was released as open source. But it is an open source project under the GNU General Public License v3.

Criticisms

Pixie CMS is only in version 1.0, but compared to other 1.0 software Pixie is rock solid and full of features. When compared to Expression Engine, WordPress, or Drupal it definitely isn’t as feature rich. The main area that needs improvement is the feature available to you when your using the WYSIWYG editor. Pixie CMS uses the popular TinyMCE editor, but a lot of its features aren’t enable.

Here are my main grips.

  • Placing images in a post or page requires multiple unintuitive steps.
  • Lacks a paste from Word feature.
  • Placing any media other than images require xHTML skills.
  • Not many plugins or modules.

If your a skilled or even intermediate online content creator this problem probably won’t slow you down. But because of these issues I don’t feel I could use this CMS to power a client’s site. I’ll go into each of these point in start from the bottom of the list.

Sparse Amount of Plugins or Modules

Pixie CMS is only in version 1.0 so this isn’t a fault of the CMS team. It does seem pretty easy to create modules. Pixie is built on PHP so once the size of user base increases I’m sure the plugins and modules will too.

Placing Media

Placing media such as video may seem like an advanced feature, but WordPress seems to do a pretty good job with it. And a lot of are getting into making videos. I generally recommend them to stick with YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, or Viddler, for their video needs. Then they don’t have to worry about bandwidth, and their content is more likely to be found. Pixie doesn’t have a paste code button so you’d have to teach them how to use the HTML portion of the WYSIWYG editor to paste the embed and/or object code.

Lacks Paste from Word Feature

I never use Word, but most people use it or something similar. I’m sure most of you know that when you paste from word the em dashes, ellipses, ampersands, and apostrophes generally either don’t show up or mess up the code.

Images

 

This section has been edited. View the original version.

 

 

This is the biggest problem I have with Pixie. To upload and insert an image to a blog post or page requires the user to use two different screens. The WYSIWYG editor doesn’t allow the user to upload images. You need to use the file manager which means you have to save the post and change screens.

Pixie does have a nice file manager that you can upload images and files into, but it’s not without problems. For example, if you upload an image that has a file name with a space within it the file manager will not except the image. It’ll tell you there is a bad character, but it doesn’t tell you how to fix it. For a beginner this would be confusing.

If the user uploads the images first and then proceeds to write the post then it is pretty easy to insert an image. You just click the image icon in the editor then a dialog box will pop-up. In the dialog box you can select the image from a drop-down list. The selector doesn’t show you a preview of the image just the file name so the user will need to remember the name of the image. Lastly if the user tends to use two to three images per post after 25 posts they will have a long list of images—a list of 50 to 75 images with no previews will be pretty hard to navigate.

Praises

Overall I’m pretty excited about Pixie CMS. I will definitely keep an eye on each release of this software and test it as new versions are released. If Coda wasn’t so easy to manage sites with I’d consider using it for my site.

My favorite things about Pixie.

  • Installing it is a breeze
  • It’s really easy to Admin the site, create pages, and multiple blogs
  • Admin interface is nicely designed
  • Creating themes seems pretty easy to do
  • Lack of complicated features makes it streamlined and easier to use
  • Open Source

Summary

To wrap up, if they solved the usability problems regarding adding images to posts and pages Pixie would be strong consideration as a CMS for simple client sites that need to manage pages. If the site is mostly going to be about blogging then WordPress would still be my choice. If the site owner needs a lot of flexible, special features, or need a database of products that’s when Drupal, Expression Engine, or Zen-Cart come into the picture.

It was fun playing around with Pixie. You can test the admin screen yourself on getpixie.co.uk via their demo. But to have the most fun take five minutes and install it yourself.

Use Automator to Auto-Install Widgets

In Tiger if I selected five or more .zip files it would choke when trying to unzip them all at once—at least on my system. Now that I’m running Leopard this has been fixed. So if you download ten widgets that are contained in .zip files, you can install them all at once.

MarsEdit 2 Review

MarsEdit 2 was released about two months ago. So I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not going to go over every feature, just the experience I’ve gained in the last month while using the trial period.

Automated Dashboard Widget Installer

Edit

01/01/08: This workflow only works in Tiger. I’ve created a new and improved workflow for Leopard. The new one doesn’t work in Tiger, so if your still using 10.4 stick to the workflow described in the article below.

Otto the automator icon

It has been a constant debate since Mac OS X.4 Tiger was released on the usefulness of Dashboard. One of the things that has bothered me about dashboard is installing widgets. It is fairly simple if you only download one widget every once in a while. But I usually go to Apple’s widget page and download five to ten widgets at a time. I usually don’t even keep half of them, but I like to test new ones out. So to explain the problem I’ll have to describe the typical installation methods.

You go to Apple – Downloads – Widgets (or any other website you’d like) pick out the widgets you like to download. Widgets are almost always packaged as a .zip file, so you end up with a bunch of .zips on you desktop. From here you open them all which then puts a bunch of .wdgt files on your desktop. I find that selecting them all at once and trying to open them usually results in Apple’s uncompressing program BOMarchivehelper.app choking. Generally only when I have more than four times selected. (This is important for later) So it’s more of a pain in the butt because to extract them I can only do 3 or 4 at a time. So anyway, your now done extracting them, you have now have 10 .zip files and 10 .wdgt file on your desktop. To install them you can either double click the .wdgt files or just move them to ~/Library/Widgets.Then move the .zips to the trash.

I found this process very tedious after a year of using my mac. So I took advantage of one my favorite features in Tiger—Automator. I wont go through all the steps that make up the workflow as you can view them yourself once you download the file. Basically how it works is you select the .zip files that you downloaded from where ever you get your dashboard widgets, you right-click (or control-click) them select Automator then select Install User Widget (or whatever you named it). At this point the workflow will move the extract the .wdgt file to your Users Widget folder and then put the .zip file in the trash. Since BOMarchiverhelper.app chokes only select 3 or 4 .zips at a time.

Installation Instructions:

  1. Download my Install User Widget workflow file
  2. Unzip it
  3. Double click the .workflow file which will open Automator
  4. Then Select Save as Plug-in
  5. Name the Plug-in and make sure Drop-down list is set to Finder (see image below)

 

I have also created a video demo which shows how it works and how to install the .workflow file.


If you want to learn more about Automator or maybe just download some other workflows then check out automator.us. This is the personal website of Sal Soghoian who is the Applescript product manger at Apple. If you head over to twit.tv, Sal has done some video podcasts showing some really cool things you can do with automator. Just do a search for automator to find the shows.

After Leopard… Lynx as in Linux?

Summary (very light summary):

“So why would Apple even want to venture into supporting Linux on OS X “Lynx?’. . . countries are embracing the collaborative model of open source on a national level to fend off caged IT models. Apple’s future moves to support Linux natively on OS X via “Lynx” will drive this revolution even farther than the eye could see”

The story goes through a lot of things that Apple may do in the future.read more | digg story

My Take

Personally I’d love to be able to run Linux in OS X or at least linux apps, I know you can do some of this with Fink & X11 But to be able to run SuSE, Gentoo, or Ubuntu inside OS X would be cool. With boot camp I’m sure the Gentoo users will get it dual booting, so I’ll be looking foward to that when I get my macbook. And I know a lot of my Linux friends will be buying a mac laptop if they can run linux on it natively, or concurrently.

And hopefully more desktop versions of Linux will be easy enough that nongeeks will want to use it and will want to use it on apple hardware.

Edit, 4/21/2006 1:09am:

Parallels Workstation looks very promising, this program allows you to run all types of OSes inside of a window in OS X. You can even run multiple OS concurrently. Parallels can run MSDOS, Win 3.1 – XP to, Red hat Linux and other versions of Linux, I even read a story about someone running Next’s Openstep in it! The new beta has added some features such as being able to run the guest OS in full screen mode (it hides the apple menu atop, so it looks exactly as if it running as the only OS) the best part about this is support for dual monitors, So now I can run gentoo or ubuntu fullscreen on one monitor and OS X on the other. This is what I call heaven!

Edit, 10/11/2007 4:07am:

Currently I have Ubuntu 7.04 running in Parallels it wasn’t very easy to get it going, but it wasn’t super difficult either. Just to be clear installing Ubuntu is very easy, it just that Parallels can be fussy.