Archive for the 'Mac Software' Tag

KIT and Yojimbo

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

I wouldn’t normally compare one of my apps to one of its competitors on this blog, but I am frequently asked what differentiates Keep It Together from Yojimbo.

Superficially the two apps appear to be very similar: both allow you to store and preview documents, web archives and bookmarks, create notes, etc; both KIT’s groups and Yojimbo’s collections work more like iTunes playlists than regular folders, where a file can exist in more than one group at a time and there is no hierarchy.

However, Yojimbo has special formats for things like passwords and serial numbers while KIT will work with any kind of file including images, movies and even formats it can’t preview. KIT keeps all the originals as files on disk (or uses aliases to link to existing files), Yojimbo keeps everything in a database. Some people prefer one approach to the other, so that’s cool.

In a nutshell, KIT is more about files, whereas Yojimbo is more about data. At times, the feature sets of the two collide, but that could apply to any number of applications in this genre. I’m actually very happy about Yojimbo because when I released KIT back in 2004 it offered a fresh approach that not everyone seemed to understand. That changed after the release of Yojimbo and interest in KIT renewed, so it’s certainly done me some favours there.

In the future you can expect to see KIT further differentiate itself for Yojimbo. I have some very exciting plans for the app, some of which will be seen sooner rather than later.

KIT, rooSwitch and hawkeye Bargains on MacZOT

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

macZOTIt’s been a rollercoaster week for MacZOT regulars as they have been subjected to the psychological strain that is a StoryZOT, a new mutation of the frequent MyzteryZOTs, where the daily deal site sells a bundle of applications at a really knock-down price for a day without the buyers knowing what those apps will be.

StoryZOT has put a twist on this by running the stories of three developers for a week, promising that none of the apps have been featured on MacZOT before and throwing in a free game. For most of the week information has been slowly drip-fed while the identity of those apps remained shrouded in mystery. There did appear to be a leak on TUAW yesterday that made it onto the front page of Digg, but today all is revealed.

The three apps in question are my very own Keep It Together, rooSwitch from roobasoft and hawkeye from nito – a bundle of apps normally worth $69.85 all for $5.95.

Keep It Together rooSwitch hawkeye

You can still buy this bundle today, on the MacZOT site. The deal runs until 11:59 pm PST Saturday, September 2nd, 2006 or until it’s sold out.

Update: The offer has now sold out.

KIT on Apple’s Hot Picks & i use this

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

It’s great to see KIT featured on Apple’s Productivity Tools Hot Picks and I’ve received some great feedback about the changes in the new version too. All this is a relief after such a hiatus!

KIT on Apple's Hot Picks

Anyway, I just remembered that I still haven’t blogged about the new site, i use this. The newest and coolest kid on the block, this site has been described as a cross between MacUpdate and Digg, but I don’t think that description really does it justice. In any case, it’s very Web 2.0.

On the site, currently Mac OS X only, is a list of apps. If you use the app, you can click “i use this” to show you like and use it. All users keep a list of apps of their own, you can see who uses a particular app and apps can be tagged so you can find similar ones. Plus you can build a network of friends, see what they use, and there are RSS feeds aplenty too.

KIT on i use this

All this makes it such a different approach to traditional download sites with their flakey search, rigid categories, random reviews and ratings and download figures that may bear no resemblance to how many people actual really like and use the app every day. It’s also so quick and simple to show what you like that’s it’s actually a lot of fun, and you can see what’s hot that day too, making it great for finding new, happening stuff.

Right now, the site is in beta but working well and growing quickly. I only added Keep It Together yesterday and Feeder is on there too, both could do with a bit of a boost. 😉

… Done it yet?

Voice Candy 1.0

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Here is something new and different. Voice Candy by Potion Factory is a fun and useful audio recorder with a number of tricks up its sleeve.

Voice Candy by Potion Factory

With Voice Candy you can record your own voice, enhanced with up to 8 different built-in effects, and then use that recording in a number of ways: you can set a reminder, attach it to an email, send it to iTunes and put it on your iPod or just save it to your desktop. You can also extend Voice Candy’s built-in actions with AppleScripts, so the possibilities become endless.

What makes Voice Candy really special is its implementation. It looks amazing, is simple to use and is just dripping in thoughtful touches. Recording can be started and stopped instantly from within any application using a global hot key, reminders can be recurring and Voice Candy can even wake your Mac from sleep to show a reminder.

More than anything, it’s just lots of fun. I know, because I’ve been lucky enough to beta test it for the last few weeks. Go to the Potion Factory website to see for yourself.

Congratulations to Andy and Jin at Potion Factory for such an excellent new release!

Share the Love

Monday, April 17th, 2006

Ever heard the expression “lighting someone else’s flame doesn’t diminish your own” (or something like that)? I’ve been having a conversation with Allison Sheridan from NosillaCast about this. Jonathan from the Mac Tips Daily Podcast told Allison to check out Podcast Maker as an alternative to Feeder for creating her podcast. Allison said she would, but felt awkward since she was happy with Feeder and the support she had received from me.

Now, as it happened, Potion Factory‘s Andy Kim told me that this was on Allison’s show (even though I’m still subscribed to Allison’s podcast, I have a backlog, OK!). I often talk with Andy, we’re good friends. I met both Andy and Jin at the Podcast Expo. Coincidentally, Allison wrote to me the very same day with a support question, so I mentioned in my reply that I had heard the show and told her exactly what I thought of Podcast Maker.

I think it’s brilliant and well worth checking out.

Feeder and Podcast Maker are very different products that happen to do similar things. The clues are in the names: Podcast Maker is dedicated to (surprise!) making podcasts. Feeder does podcasting, but is also a generic RSS feed editor. Both applications have their unique features. Podcast Maker is probably easier to use thanks to its focus on doing one thing and doing it well. Feeder may be more flexible, because it’s designed for a variety of different uses.

Of the two applications’ overall capabilities I bet there isn’t much in it, but frankly I haven’t done a comprehensive feature comparison to find out. I give Feeder users what I think they need, whether that is something frequently requested or an idea of my own. I expect Andy and Jin work on the same basis. How you implement these things is what makes all the difference.

I believe there is more to Mac applications than ticking boxes. Of course, Mac users care that an application does what they need, but they also want something that appeals to them on an emotional level. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought an app because I like it more than its competitors, regardless of whether it has as many features.

Same with Macs. I’ve always liked iMacs and all-in-one Macs in general. Yes, a Power Mac would be faster, more upgradeable, I could get a bigger monitor and it could double as a cheese grater, but I don’t care. The iMac is cute, a brilliant design and does everything I need perfectly. Obviously not everyone thinks the same as me, or Apple wouldn’t need to make any other desktop Macs.

Anyway, I digress. A man of many tangents, me.

Allison wrote back and told me that, if it were her, she might worry that plugging another podcast could take listeners away. It’s a good point, I had never thought of it from a podcaster’s perspective. True, people don’t need to make a purchasing decision between one podcast and another, because they’re all freely available, but listeners only have a finite amount of listening time.

But think about it, many of the most successful podcasters promote other podcasts on a regular basis. You plug a podcast you enjoy and they can mention you in return. It’s not mandatory, but both of you can gain listeners as a result of that extra exposure. It’s social networking, like a trackback on a blog, but it’s also word of mouth – the greatest marketing tool in the world.

The real point is this: it’s not as if someone can’t search for tech podcasts just as easily as they can search for podcast-creation software. There are all sorts of things out there: costly all-in-one solutions, bundled iLife applications, freeware, shareware, online services, you name it. And there will be more. To pretend these things don’t exist is futile.

Competition is good because it raises standards (or should!) and increases overall exposure. By mentioning Podcast Maker on her show, Allison also mentioned Feeder. People will make up their own minds. As for developers, and this could apply to anyone, it’s often so much better to work together than apart – a personal favourite example being the work we did in trying to sort out the iTunes specification.

My inspiration in this regard is NetNewsWire‘s Brent Simmons. Never afraid to mention his competitors, put source code out there, discuss all sort of things and open up his applications’ functionality for others to use (see the NetNewsWire developers page), Brent sets an excellent example for all developers – and just look how popular NetNewsWire is!

Indie developers are not like supermarkets, selling the same stuff at different prices. Our products should set us apart in a number of ways or we’re not trying hard enough.

So, the moral of the story is to share the love! It will always be good for you. 😉