I’ve noticed an increasingly more prevalent theme this year. The core theme is the concept of technology that is so ubiquitous and elegant that it appears to work like magic. For most of us that is rarely our experience. Often technology, whether we’re using an electronic tool that performs some physical work, or a piece of software that executes a virtual action, rarely seems like magic.
Some of this is simply due to the fact that most of us have developed a specific level of expectation over time through gradual changes that occur across the span of decades. There are certainly many things that might be perceived as magical to someone from an earlier time, whether it was someone from five hundred years ago or only a decade ago. Perhaps magic, in this context, might be defined as something that is done for you that you didn’t even think about when you made it happen. Like turning on a light switch or opening a door, except the level of interaction is subtler.
Earlier this year I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join a college at a conference where Josh Clark, a user interface design expert, presented along with several other experts. While there we also had the opportunity to speak with him directly at one of the lunches, where he joined our table. Much of our discussion was on this very subject as was his presentation. His topic, of technology functioning like magic, was engaging and, in my opinion, a change heading toward us rather quickly.
I love technology. I enjoy learning about new innovations and gadgets and I have spent several late nights and weekends just tinkering with devices and software, sometimes without a defined goal. Some of those projects were dead ends. Others were successes. I learned from each one.
Yet, over the years, I continue to notice one problem with much of the technology that we have at our disposal.
The Short Version: I cataloged our movies with Delicious Library 2 but needed to replicate the data in Home Inventory. Delicious Library provides an export to CSV function and Home Inventory can import CSV files. Now I have the data for our library in both programs and using an iOS program for Home Inventory I can also maintain and view a backup copy of the database on my iPhone.
I’ve had a copy of Delicious Library (version 1) for several years. It’s a well-designed commercial Mac program for cataloging movies, CDs, games, and books. The latest version (Delicious Library 2) includes more features and categories. Both versions support barcode scanning, which I’ve always done with the built-in iSight camera. It can look-up product information using Amazon and automatically download product images, title, retail value, and other pieces of information.
A week or two ago we decided to catalog all of our movies after a visit to Wal-Mart. While there we browsed the cheap movie section but we were reluctant to purchase for fear that we already owned them. When we returned home my wife downloaded an app to her iPod for cataloging movies. I decided to open up Delicious Library and paid $15 to upgrade to the latest version.
We both spent at least a couple of hours scanning or manually entering information for our movies.
The Short Version: I think it’s worth $25 if you can find it at half-price. It’s not very useful for much more than basic balancing of a checking account. To import from Quicken 2006 you must install the new version and import from Quicken 2006 prior to installing Lion (or by booting into Snow Leopard). It works well enough for my needs.
I’ve enjoyed using Quicken 2006 for Mac for several years. My financial tracking needs are relatively simple though it had more than enough features. Unfortunately, Intuit chose to not provide an Intel binary for the program. While I can understand why a company wouldn’t port an older program, I don’t understand why Intuit didn’t develop a version with equivalent features that is compatible with Lion.
I debated whether or not to move to Quicken Essentials. I needed a financial program that is compatible with Lion. However, many of the reviews were very negative. In fact, the number (and weight) of the negative reviews made me very wary about buying it. Weeding through the reviews I found several individuals that stated it worked just fine if you only need to balance a checkbook.
In the end I decided to go ahead and purchase it. While I do have a couple of investment accounts and various credit accounts it wasn’t essential that I track them in Quicken (I wasn’t doing this anyway, at the time).
If you’re considering upgrading then I think I can safely state that it works just fine for tracking a checking account. If you’re interested in managing credit accounts, investment accounts, printing checks, integrating with TurboTax and a number of other activities then this product probably isn’t something you’ll want.
There was one other thing that made the decision acceptable – I found a discount so I only had to pay $25. Unfortunately, it looks like the link to the discount is no longer good – the link now goes to a page that shows only the regular price.
This evening I started browsing the Web in search of a simple image tool that could be used to quickly remove exif data from JPEGs. A few links later I came across SmallImage. It’s a nice batch JPEG processing tool and can indeed remove exif data very easily. Note that it is capable of doing much more, but so far I’ve only used it for this one task.
SmallImage is donationware and available for OS X (a Snow Leopard version is available).
Here’s the scenario: You remove links from pages (and templates) that point to a file you are about to delete. After careful inspection you’ve determined all of the links are gone. However, when you delete the file from within Dreamweaver a confirmation dialog appears stating that other pages are still linked to the file.
This is an internal cache issue. It seems that Dreamweaver doesn’t always update the cache to track links within a site.
At this point you could just continue and let it delete the file. However, the safest method is to simply close Dreamweaver and then re-open it. This way you’ll know if you missed any links because it will again show if there are any pages linking to the file, but this time the cache will have been updated.
I’ve seen this in happen Dreamweaver CS5 for Mac and I’m certain I’ve also seen it in previous versions, too.
I attempted to re-install Vanguard (from a new download) to see if it improved the CPU consumption. It didn’t. But in the process I was reminded of an issue I ran into when I moved to Windows 7. Some programs, especially those not originally intended for Windows 7, may need to be installed by running them as Administrator. The first time I re-installed Vanguard I received a prompt at the end from Windows 7 stating that the program may not have installed properly. The next time I re-installed I ran the install as Administrator and did not get the same warning.