Archive for January, 2010

LaunchBar Script: Copy as bit.ly

I recently started using LaunchBar which comes with a Copy as TinyURL action built in however I use bit.ly. After searching around for a little while I found a script that posts to Twitter with bit.ly URL shorting but that was it.

I decided to take parts of both of these scripts to make my own and here is the code (download):

on handle_string(theURL)

-- add scheme prefix if missing
set _firstColon to offset of ":" in theURL
set _firstSlash to offset of "/" in theURL
if (_firstColon = 0 or _firstSlash < _firstColon) then
set theURL to "http://" & theURL
end if
-- Process and encode URL
set theURL to do shell script "/usr/bin/python -c 'import sys, urllib; print urllib.quote(sys.argv[1])' " & quoted form of theURL
-- Create bit.ly
set login to "YOOURUSERNAME"
set apiKey to "YOURAPIKEY"
set bitlyURL to "http://api.bit.ly/shorten?version=2.0.1&longUrl=" & theURL & "&login=" & login & "&apiKey=" & apiKey & ""
set results to do shell script "curl " & quoted form of bitlyURL & " | grep shortUrl | awk '{print $2}' | sed 's/[\",]//g'"
-- Copy to clipboard
tell application "LaunchBar"
perform action "Copy" with string results
end tell
end handle_string

Replace “YOURUSERNAME” and “YOURAPIKEY” with your own details.

To install the action place the file in ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar/Actions.

I have never written any AppleScript before and now I understand just how powerful it is I’m going to start learning the language.

Things for Mac and iPhone

OK so not a few weeks later as I said but it’s still here. A few month’s ago I started to follow the Getting Things Done program using Things as my tool of choice to manage my tasks.

Well since then I’ve still been following the program and now find I’m getting a lot more done in a day.

Things is simple yet powerful and most importantly easy to use. The simple power of the little application is prefect for me, I put every little thing I have to do in to it ranging from full projects with hundreds of tasks to little things like post some of the drafts on the site.

However I do start to build up a lot of tasks that never seem to get done like the posting of the drafts, and every so often I set aside a day to get through as many of them as possible.

Things can help a lot with tasks and projects that have a start and due date by not showing them until you can start them and turning the check box red when over due and yellow on the day their due, making them stand out a little from the other tasks.

The iPhone is the perfect companion to the desktop version although both can stand alone they work better together with the ability to quickly add tasks on the road and mark them as done the second I do them and have it all in sync is wonderful. The only nag I have is the need to be on the same WI-FI network to sync, Cultured Code, the developer, has said an over the air sync is coming in a future release.

So is Things worth the $50 (Mac) and $10 (iPhone) yes most defiantly if you are going to be using to do lists.

QuickOffice & Documents 2 for iPhone

The other day I needed to create a document on my iPhone and send it to a friend to finish off. So after a quick trip to the app store I found QuickOffice and Documents 2 which both have a way to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office formats.

The main difference is getting the files on and off the phone, both support the standard WIFI hard drive that many apps use but Documents 2 will upload and download Google Docs files were QuickOffice will upload and download to/from MobileMe’s iDisk.

So far QuickOffice is in the lead here as I can share the file from my phone with Apple’s MobileMe application and Google Docs mobile web app doesn’t allow me to share a document.

However as both are currently on offer with upto 50% off I got both and here’s my review of them.

Firstly Documents 2, it’s basic and simple which I like I don’t see myself tapping out full reports on the bus to work just maki small edits and the occasional paragraph or two. Documents 2 is great for just this with it’s support for Google Docs, but every time I upload a new version of the doc it creates a new file on the server instead of updating the old one.

QuickOffice has a powerful editor with styling tools and is a pleasure to use. In fact I’m going to go back on my statement about not writing full reports on my phone, I’ve written this post in QuickOffice and just touched up, spell checked, added images and posted from a computer.

With QuickOffice I can work from most places and just touch up when I get back to the desk Before sending stuff out full of daft mistake because the iPhones keyboard isn’t the beat and the auto correct can be more of a hindrance than a help.

I do like the simplicity of Documents 2 but the power of QuickOffice is so much better and as I have a MobileMe account the iDisk tools will do me fine although Dropbox would be better and whichever adds support for them might just win me.

Both these applications can edit and create spreadsheets as well but I didn’t buy them for that I haven’t tried or test this feature.

For now the one that has stayed on my phone is QuickOffice and until I see a major update in Documents 2 to fix a few little snags it will be the only one.

Predictions for 2010

Last year I predicted what would happen in technology for the year and did fairly well getting 6 out of 10, so this year I going again and here’s my list:

  • iTunes will have subscription music
  • Apple will roll out more MobileMe features
  • Twiter will be purchased
  • The iPhone will allow background apps in a limited form (i.e music apps)
  • The UK Internet Piracy bill will not get passed
  • Google Voice will come to the UK
  • Google Wave will flop without a purpose
  • UK telecom companies will start rolling out fiber on a large scale
  • Microsoft will bring the Zune to the UK
  • The Apple Table will not launch

That’s what I say 2010 has in store for us and we’ll see how well I do at the end of the year.