Archive for February, 2010

Silverlight 4 Beta Client - www.silverlight.net

Facebook Desktop

Facebook Desktop a beta app built by Microsoft running on Sliverlight 4, so naturally called Silverlight Client for Facebook provides access to core parts of the social network from your desktop.

In theory this should give better performance and a beautiful interface, well that last part is definitely true, the performance can be sluggish at times but generally is fast and responsive.

Would I use it, yes if it would support scrolling on a mac and chat, but I’ll still pay with it from time to time when updates are released.

The client does require the Silverlight 4 beta to be installed and works on PC’s and Intel Mac’s.

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QuickOffice 3 with Google Docs and Dropbox

Last month I reviewed QuickOffice for iPhone and said I would like it to have support for Dropbox and Google Docs, well today version 3 of the suite came out as a free update to existing customers and they’re added just that. It still has the same great editor and features just with a few extra storage options. However to use the new options it does require you to sign up for a QuickOffice.com account.

You get access to read and edit all your current documents on these new services and the documents you edit and uploaded in place of the originals and very quickly even over 3G.

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Microsoft Tag. QR Codes That Work


The other day Microsoft released a beta of a new service / mobile app call Microsoft Tag. Microsoft Tag is a small square image with random colours and shapes which when scanned with the cross platform mobile app can resolve links, text, phone numbers and more. Just like QR Codes.

Only this works, I’ve tried a number of QR Code readers on my phone and none of them work like this I just have to point the camera at the code and it reads it instantly, no processing and it doesn’t have to be perfectly lined up it, yes it even works at angles.

So why an I so excited about this? Well lately I’ve been working on a project that will include a small print newsletter been distributed and this will allow me to link deep with the site from such print publications.

No only that but been able to provide phone numbers and the ability to dial them quicker then you could ever tap then out. Or displaying coupon codes that can expire and resolve differently after a set date.

And it still gets better all the links and codes are tracked my Microsoft who provide stats on how my codes are performing, plus as all the codes link through the big boy I can change the destination of a code without changing to code, great for when it comes time to change the site.

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Pro HDR for iPhone

When browsing around the app store one day I found Pro HDR, a photo app for making High Dynamic Range photographs.

So firstly what is HDR? HDR is a simple concept of taking multiple images at different exposures, merging them together to create an image that captures more of what is actually there.

This iPhone app does the same thing you take 2 images at different exposures and the app does the rest of the work.

When it comes down to it, Pro HDR can create some really beautiful pictures and also some crap.

It’s a very simple app and well worth the money if you have any interest in photography.

LaunchBar Script: Create bit.ly

I recently created and published a LaunchBar Action to create and copy a bit.ly URL to the clipboard and today I wanted to use the URL in a SMS, a new script would be needed to display the new shortened URL.

Not a big change from my first script but still worth publishing, in this version I display and copy the URL to the clipboard, download here.

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 and display
tell application "LaunchBar"
perform action "Copy" with string results
display in large type results
end tell

end handle_string

Again replace "YOURUSERNAME" and "YOURAPIKEY" with your own details and install the action by placing the file in ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar/Actions.

If you do not want to copy the URL as well remove the line “perform action "Copy" with string results".