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Daniel Jalkut just tweeted that he had some stickers to give away featuring logos from his fantastic software company, Red Sweater Software. I decided it was a good time to tell people about his great work.

I thought I would take a moment to suggest that anyone that writes a blog on a Mac shoud be using his fantastic MarsEdit (App Store Link) text editor/blogging swiss army knife. His software has recently made its way onto the Mac App Store. This is one of my two favorite third party OSX applications, the other being Scrivener.

I am somebody who likes to have software that is as simple yet as flexible as possible. I want to not have to think about what am doing while I am doing it. MarsEdit allows you to write your blog without having to think about the process. You just write, edit, and publish.

The program has good media management so adding photos is very easy. Quite often I do have to tweak settings from the WordPress side just to make things look right but for the most part this program makes it possible to write and post with minimal stress. I love taking my laptop on the road, writing, and having my posts be ready to go whenever the internet is available.

MarsEdit makes it so you can post to multiple blogs (I use it for 4) with ease. I am sure the program does way more than I use it for but I have been so happy with what I does I have not needed to mess with it. It just works.

To top it all off, Daniel is (as far as I can tell) a quality guy. I have written him over email and twitter and he has responded quickly, professionally, and warmly. He is in my mind a great example of quality customer service.

If you do any blogging on a Mac, have any appreciation for great software, or want to help out an amazing small business, buy any of his stuff. He has several products including a crossword application, an ear training aid, as well as several other cool applications. Check them out. Worth every penny.


I don’t know if this is comforting or terrifying.
Just think what is possible when these cameras are everywhere.

I took these photos yesterday and I have been trying out some Lomo simulation methods.
I love how they look and I’m hoping I can keep improving.

As always check out more photos on my flickr –

Info on Fenner Nature center where I took the photos-

I’m trying to get my Adobe legs…
Here are some pictures that I have been messing with. It takes a while but I think i can maybe think about looking into trying to see if it would be possible to know what I am doing.
Yeah. It’s crazy.

Originals available on my flickr.

So today I am sitting in my lab running some statistics on a whole pile of data I have had sitting in a forgotten corner of my hard drive since the summer.
Im using SAS which is a decrepit dinosaur of an application with its own manual input of code to get it to work. It reminds me of the days when I had to use DOS to pull up Oregon trail. But this is 2010. I feel as if the programers have not come out of there labs since the first and less hated George Bush was president.The program is fantastic, but it is as unwieldily as all get out. In this situation it’s like having the entire cast of Iron Chef make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It CAN do it and so much more, but it is a waste of time.

For the life of me I can’t get it to work. It’s not entirely hard (in theory) but it seems like it is an insurmountable challenge to get a computer to do what you want it to. I am not trying to get it to do anything complicated. All I want it to do is accept a dataset and tell me if the trap catches between locations in a field are statistically different using ANNOVA.
This is not a hard process. Heck, I can use a myriad of Java applets on the interweb that will do the same thing, I need to use the “trusted standard.”

But it does not work.

Why does it seem like we correlate power with confusion in software design?
It occurs to me that there is a rule that the more your software can do the more overwhelming it has to be. There seems to be two camps of software design. I shall call one MS Paint and the other Adobe Photoshop.
Both are great programs and both of them are some of the worst programs ever made. Now, I have heard that the new Paint on Win 7 is tolerable; I am thinking of the days when I sat at my HP running Win 95 while watching Power Rangers and listening to the Backstreet Boys. Those were the days when I had to uninstall everything on my computer to give Mech Warrior 2 the 500 megabytes needed run.

It was great. I could make as many lines as I wanted. All I had to do was drag the mouse from one side of the screen to the other. Circles. Squares. Blotches. In high school we made duplicates of the desktop with hundreds of clones of the documents folder to flummox our IT guy, who also happened to be our physics teacher. He would start stories like “Back in the seventies, when I went into this casino in Lebanon…”

On the other hand we have Photoshop. I have a love hate relationship with it. In theory it is like driving a stick shift. You are in touch with the image, you can make it go where you want it to. You are fully in control to the limit of the image and your computer. But what has happened is it now feels like you are shifting gears while changing the oil and cleaning the carburetor. It is awful. I know I can get some great stuff out of it, but I am too busy trying to find the correct tab and pressing undo.

There are two values to any tool. These values, combined with the time available to master the tool determine, its functional value.
A tools total value= (Quality of product/Difficulty of use) x Time Available

If we use this thought process we realize that both Paint and Photoshop are roughly equally valuable tools as long as the operator has the ability to invest time.

I just downloaded RapidWeaver today as a part of the MacHeist bundle. Overall I have been very impressed with it. It seems to me like it is a perfect little piece of software.

But I don’t like it.
For the life of me I cant get it to do what I want it to. I am not trying to get it to do anything complicated. All I want to do is change an image in the template. That is all. I know I can change images in templates in iWeb, but what is the point of buying a new software when I can use the free one bundled with my computer.

From what I can tell I need to buy and download a plug in, but that is another $15. And the plug in is not even made by the manufacturer.

So, I am trying to do simple things, with both the powerful and the gimped software.

And I can’t.

Things I like

Flickr Photos