March 2011

03/30/2011 19:00:06

Wednesday App Tip: Scroll Reverser

Wednesday App Tipp: Scroll Reverser

Lion is not out yet, but there’s already a lot of rumor about it. Apple said that Lion is the OS X where they were trying to bring the best of iOS back to the Mac. One minor thing that has changed, is scrolling direction, rather than following the old “mouse scroll-whell” approach where one scrolls down to move downwards, it is going to be the other way around in Lion.
This seems to be a lot more comfortable especially on a touchpad, where there is no scroll-wheel, therefore following the iPhone scolling direction feels more natural. In Lion scrolling is going to follow the “you grab the thing and then drag it around to see all edges”, e.g. in order to see what is at the end of a webpage, one would need to drag upwards.

A nice little app that just came out which enables this for all applications is Scroll Reverser by Pilotmoon Software. A free application that enables inversed scrolling.

Beware: This feels a lot different than previous scrolling and needs some “get used to”. After an adoption phase you’re going to love it. I’m sure.

03/28/2011 22:46:00

Reasons I hope I'll never have to have an Android device

The title is interesting, isn’t it? But I can explain. As screencaster I’m not buying new “things”, because I desperately want them, I buy (or most of the time get) devices/software when a client needs me to have one and buying one amortizes the investment. What Amazon just did with their Appstore, makes me think about Android. I’m jealous the Android platform is growing so rapidly, but its Window-ish-ness disgusts me. Users don’t get that Google doesn’t think about the platform, they just reinvent Windows on a phone. Users tell me “This phone is working like my computer, that’s hella cool!” Is it? That’s nice to hear…not.
I don’t want to bring up all the other points all the other blogs already mentioned (to an extent), but one thing got my attention: "Remember, it’s just Amazon!"

After Amazon has published their "Getting Started with the Amazon Appstore" guide, they release a video describing how easy the installation process is.

Normally I wouldn’t write about this, but… seriously??? Does Amazon really not need to care about anything?
They could try to mention that it would probably be a good idea to change "Allow unknown sources" back to default.
Oh, yes, yes… that would mean they would have to admit that the Amazon Appstore is an alien “thing” on an Android device.

Dangerous for a normal user, and technically terribly solved. As many may know, the Amazon Appstore needs the user to allow installation from “Unknown Sources”. The guy in their ad says "Remember, it’s just Amazon!"


It’s just Amazon? Sounds trustful and harmless!

The whole thing is borked, right from the beginning, and, unfortunately, they will most likely succeed.
I could swear about this for hours, but I won’t. People reading this will know how terrible this really is and I won’t complain. I’m glad I’m on iOS. Everything’s save and sound here. Despite a couple hiccups here and there, but that’s all right.

The last thing I want to mention. A point I haven’t read in any blogs yet: Please have a second look at their installation instructions. Did you realize the whole damned thing is actually a picture?

"Blind people using a mobile phone? Non-existing! We have to keep our Corporate Design intact! That’s the only thing that matters!"

(Most likely not user experience design though…)

03/24/2011 19:00:06

Tools I use for screencasting: Scrivener

It is no secret that I’m a huge Scrivener fan. I love it.
For screencasts for my clients I’m writing a script of actions I’m going to perform and, more importantly, the text I’m going to speak. This is because I need to make sure that the client is fine with the text, otherwise I need to re-record and re-edit and all my previous work was pointless.
As usual, outlining starts in MindNode, I then let approve my client the outline. Then I go ahead and write the script. (Export as OPML)

Just a couple of days ago I realized how Scriveners Scriptwriting function could help me with this. (How could I ignore this wonderful thing for so long?)

  1. File → New Project
  2. Select Scriptwring
  3. I personally use the Screenplay template

(You hopefully understand that I had to black this out quite a bit.)

Shortcuts ⌥⌘1 to 9 (Format → Scriptwriting → Change Element to…) are your best friends. Or hit ⏎ at the beginning of a blank line.

I had to reformat the compile settings though, as my clients expect me to send them a text file. I usually prefer to send standard plain-text files, because my clients are programmers and most of them prefer plain-text as well. (And I do too) But plain-text files don’t come out as beautiful as an RTF.

03/20/2011 19:01:07

Tools I use for screencasting: ScreenFloat

ScreenFloat is an app that allows you to take screenshots that then float above all other windows. You can also pick from previous screenshots, which makes this tool quite handy for many use scenarios.
At first glance, reading the description I thought “who could find this helpful?”. Well, it is helpful indeed. Let me explain how…

Currently I’m editing recordings of a German programmer’s conference named Macoun. There were 8 sessions split across two rooms. Every session is one Final Cut project. All of them should have the same sequence and size settings.
I took two screenshots, using ScreenFloat, of a "master sequence" and size settings window and now it’s very easy to compare my current sequence’s settings to the master one.
That’s hella practical!

It is one of the tools that I don’t need all the time, but there are those moment where I say “I need to compare this to that” and it’s annoying to switch from Preview to my current app continually. Even more annoying is window resizing, adjusting, etc. In these cases: ScreenFloat to the rescue. I can also see it being useful for programming. A poor man’s diff tool.
Seriously try it! Available on the Mac App Store.

03/17/2011 19:00:08

AppStore Links Setup Guide

One of the last changes I made to Mac OS X Screencasts was integrating a plugin named AppStore Links.
This plugin allows easy linking to iOS and Mac App Store apps using a convenient naming scheme:

[app #appidnumber]

AppStore Links is even able to format all links so they go through TradeDoubler, an affiliate platform where website owners can find advertising partners. TradeDoubler is one of our main advertising platforms and it’s nice to have an easier integration between iOS/Mac App Store, Mac OS X Screencasts and TradeDoubler.
The plugin also has the advantage that all links look consistent and it’s able to pull certain information from the various stores, e.g. version number, name, or rating.
Although AppStore Links works is activated and integrated quite easily, getting TradeDoubler set isn’t as easy. After having some problems by myself, the developers told me that this is a common issue.
That’s why I took a couple minutes to record a free screencast showing a step-by-step setup guide. They were quite pleased to see this kind of contribution to the project and link to it from the setup page in WordPress’ backend.

Thanks, guys!

03/11/2011 17:04:13

Mac OS X Screencasts NEWS 11.03.2011

This is not the place where I usually talk about news made to Mac OS X Screencasts, but I don’t feel like I will be recording a “news video” soon. In fact I feel exhausted and tired.

A couple months ago, almost right after I made the German Mac OS X Screencasts website go live, I knew I had to overhaul the whole backend of Mac OS X Screencasts. I call that project “MOSX Projects" and it’s still a long, long, long way in the making. This project includes:

So what did I do today? I did one of the peskiest things on that list, which is:

Open every single article and replace the embed code with a HTML5 compatible equivalent … manually1

I began at 13:00 and it took me until 16:30 to finish. Today I saw a lot of mess. Fortunately I saw all the screencasts I made from the beginning until now. They changed quite a lot and I’m pleased to see how my skills changed over the years!

Replacing means that screencasts hosted on have a HTML5 fallback, whereas YouTube videos are now embedded via iframe code, rather than the old embed code.
The screencasts hosted on won’t play on an iPad/iPhone though. The quality settings, especially for older screencasts, are just too high. Newer ones, like this one should play fine. It took me quite a while to figure out how to encode them correctly. Luckily I had help from a friend.

Why do I write such a long blog posting about something so trivial? Well, in fact this is one of the biggest steps MOSX Projects needed to make, and what I just did is the result of about 6 months of work. (Figuring out the correct encoding settings, figuring the HTML5 player out, etc.) I have annoyed so many support people, some of them weren’t very useful nor friendly, but that’s just how human work, I believe.
Anyway, the screencasts should play, and in the future should also play on your iDevice. In case you want to make my weekend become awesome, please consider a donation. (No PayPal account required)

  1. Why not using regular expressions? Because I used about 4 or 5 different embedding codes and needed to make sure that all article use the same embedding code. 

03/07/2011 19:00:07

Tools I use for screencasting: MobileRSS/Reeder

You may wonder why I say Reeder, or MobileRSS for that matter, are tools for screencasting to me.
See, have you ever wondered where I get inspiration for new screencasts? Where I try to keep up with what’s going on in the world of Mac or iOS development?
A couple blogs of developers, a couple “new apps” sites help me being always up-to-date with the iWorld.
So without these I wouldn’t be where I am. Thank you, RSS. You’ve been a dear friend the last almost 10 years.

Though many think MobileRSS (HD) is a ripoff of Reeder, the new 3.1 release sets a new distinction point. Nibirutech has reacted to the harsh critic and I have to say: “Well Reeder team, there’s a new goal to aim for.” The new, not “ripped off”, interface has a couple things I appreciate and wonder why Reeder didn’t have them in the first place.
That combined with multi-user login (The Woman and I share the iPad on vacations), feed management (adding, sorting, subscribing, unsubscribing…) let Reeder look like an outdated chihuahua.

Download MobileRSS

Download Reeder