October 2013

10/31/2013 19:30:19

Keyboard Maestro Macro: Arrange windows next to each other

I made a new macro for my Window macros. This one arranges two windows on screen so they are right next to each other. This is nice when moving files from one folder to the next or to compare two folder contents.

It also allows you to have a custom window distance. If you prefer to have 10px between the windows, simply put 10 in the first Set Variable action.

How this macro works:

Macro is already in the km-macros GitHub repository.

10/30/2013 19:30:14

Alan Watts discusses Nothing

If the concept of Nothingness sounds intriguing to you, here’s a very short primer on the topic.

10/27/2013 18:30:23

I talked about muscle imbalances in my post Good Posture briefly. This video explains the concept of imbalanced muscles much more deeply.

What Is A Muscle Imbalance? by Sam Visnic

10/21/2013 23:14:54

Quiet Times Here

Dear reader,

You may have realized by now that this blog has become very quiet. Normally when this happens it means that people are really really busy. I’m really really busy right now. I’m not reading that much, I’m not on Twitter that much… essentially “new stuff” doesn’t reach me as quick, and if it does, I don’t have enough time to post it here. That’s what it boils down to. I have experimented posting two posts a day, using Tumblr’s auto-post feature for the Queue, but now that I don’t have so much time anymore, this blog stays calm mainly, due to me not being able to refill the queue. I had it set to post one post a day almost ever since I’m running this blog, and I’ll switch it back to 1 post a day.

This is just to let you know that I’m not dead, I’m just working on things that need a lot of my attention and energy. I appreciate everyone who is reading this blog. You humans are great!

I hope to be back on track with this blog soon-ish. For the time being, I’ll post as much as I can, but don’t expect anything extraordinary.

10/19/2013 20:20:06

Playing with MindNode’s “Unfolding” Animation

For quite some time I’m not really happy with the way how nodes “unfold” in MindNode. I’ve been thinking about it and just the other day sat down and made some alternatives. I feel like sharing these here too.

As a disclaimer: Though I work with IdeasOnCanvas, I’m not involved in the design and development of MindNode!

What this means is that these are just mockups. None of these animations are official. I’m playing with motion graphics to sharpen my axe[1].

The original animation has basically the problem that it uses Beziers where, right from the beginning, all control points are staying fixed off the Bezier point. If control points and the points itself would overlap and then the control point moves out the animation looks much smoother. You can see this in the following video.

The second animation in this video is an iOS–7-style “springy” animation. Normally I’m not a huge fan of these, but it feels pretty good. My second favorite is Drift In from the second video.

I wanted to try how an animation feels that is so over the top that it’s highly unfeasible that it will ever be used in an app. Thus I created a “welding” animation with smoke:

Markus, lead developer of IdeasOnCanvas, responded: “you’re doing it wrong! With Mavericks ✨sparkles✨ are the new chic!” How was I supposed to refuse his wish?

  1. So that I can chop the bigger trees.  ↩

10/18/2013 20:20:00

OS X Tip: Execute Java Apps like Minecraft or jDownloader with 64 bit Java 7

Minecraft and other Java apps have the problem that they launch in Java 6 by default. If you are on Mavericks, you will not even have Java 6 anymore. Even though you launch these apps an OS X dialog will ask you to install and use Java 6, instead of the newer Java 7.

The solution is actually pretty simple. Instead of executing these apps using their .app Java launcher, you can execute their .jar directly and OS X will use Java 7.

Head over to Oracle’s website and download Java 7 first and run the installer.1 This will install Java 7 in /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin/Contents/Home/bin.


Minecraft (or Feed the Beast):

Minecraft is a bit more trickier. First you have to install a newer version of lwjgl.

For Minecraft:

For FTB:

Just double click FTB_Launcher.jar


You can always check whether something is being executed 64 or 32 bit in Activity Monitor. Just make it show the “kind” column from View.

  1. Java Runtime Environment (JRE), not the SDK. 

10/18/2013 18:40:20

Check out the work of Paul Kuczynski.

10/17/2013 20:20:18

QuakeCon 2011: 20 Years of id Software

Interesting look back to the early days of id and how the company now has 200 employees.

10/16/2013 20:20:16

AT&T Archives: The UNIX Operating System

10/11/2013 20:20:23

Chiptune Runner: Half Game, Half Chiptune Sequencer

Chiptune Runner is a iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows game. It is half endless runner, half chiptune sequencer.

via Synthtopia

10/11/2013 18:40:12

Use Trello To Track Screencast Production Workflows and Planning For Blog Topics

Since the introduction of OmniFocus 2, I’m looking at other task managers. I am considering tools by their price over time as well. (The Real Value of Omni Apps) So far I’m really enjoying Trello and Asana. Trello is a bit more interesting for teams. A task can have multiple checklists inside itself.

10/03/2013 18:40:25

Why Monkey D. Luffy Is My Biggest Hero

A couple of weeks ago I started watching one of my favorite TV series of all times: One Piece. As you know I’m working on zCasting 3000 now. I want to figure out what that company stands for. What kind of place is that going to be like? I recalled One Piece that I used to watch when I was 17 or so. What I liked about One Piece was not just the story, but the way the main character, Monkey D. Luffy, approaches his goal of becoming the king of pirates.

A repeating pattern in this series is that people keep telling the not-yet king of pirates that reaching his goal is impossible, out of reach, that he should stop trying. As you can imagine from an anime, the way this is displayed, is very repetitive1.

His only reaction to well meant advice and expressed doubts like this, at least in the early episodes, is: he just stands there smiling, laughing, and then saying “we’ll see when I get there.”
He emanates a certain calmness. He’s young and appears to be a kid just having a crazy idea, an idea not very well thought through. But it is actually the opposite, he has thought about his career choice very well and he is aware that he has to kick everybody’s butt if he wants to become king of pirates.

"If you don’t want the negative reputation, you shouldn’t be a pirate" ~ Monkey D. Luffy

Of course this is all idealistic and it’s just a TV show, but why not be idealistic about personal goals? Rather than being stuck in the current, one can also just live as if the goal was reached already.

And that’s why I’m a fan of Monkey. Not just because of that. There are other “values” this show holds high that I can identify myself with too. But it’s one of my main reasons.

  1. …to save production costs. 

10/02/2013 20:20:19

The Real Value of Omni Apps

Omni is updating most of their apps big time at the moment. Their decision to release all new apps as new apps without upgrade pricing and also removing all older versions from the Stores has sparked quite some discussion. Many people are upset and disappointed. I was one of them, and still am, albeit not for every product in their line anymore. Let me explain.

The problem people face is that Omni is not updating one or two apps, but instead we see a new major release for an app every week. This means that the amount of money we would have to pay to Omni is incredibly high (of course no one is forced to upgrade).

I bought OmniFocus for iPhone right after it came out. I bought many more apps from Omni. I am using: OmniFocus, OmniPlan, and OmniGraffle. I was asking myself how much are these updates really worth? Is there a reason to be upset? Can there be something behind all of this that would make a purchase justifiable?

Here are some numbers and calculations that I did. Most of this boils down to depreciation. I’m including release dates for all versions of an app, for completeness, though I’m only writing about OmniFocus for iPhone, OmniPlan for iPad and OmniGraffle for Mac. Relevant numbers are italic.


First Release

iPhone = 15th October 20091
iPad = 30th July 2010
Mac = 8th January 2008

Date of Purchase

iPhone = 12th November 2009
iPad = 17th december 20112
Mac = 13th december 2009

Current Price

iPhone = 18€
iPad = 36€
Mac = 60€

Price at Time of Purchase

iPhone = 16€
iPad = 32€
Mac = 60€

Value Over Time

The iPhone version came out 48 months ago, at its current price this means that the app costs 0.375€/month.
Taking into account the time when I bought it and OmniFocus’ price back then, the cost is down to 0.3404€/month.


First Release

iPad = 16th May 2012
Mac = 8th May 2008

Date of Purchase

iPad = 22nd April 2013
Mac = 17th December 2011

Current Price (price hasn’t changed)

iPad = 45€
Mac = 150€

Value Over Time

I’ve been using the iPad version for 5 months, but it’s been out for 17. So my version costs 9€/month, where users who bought at release day are using it at a value of 2.6471€/month.
The time I could appreciate the app was very short, therefore upgrading is bitter. (more on that later)


First Release

iPad = 2nd April 2010
Mac = 5th March 2008

Date of Purchase

iPad = 15th April 2013
Mac = 17th December 2011

Current Price (price hasn’t changed)

iPad = 45€
Mac = 80€

Value Over Time

OmniGraffle has come out about 5 years ago, after such a long time I think it’s more than understandable that a new version is on the horizon. I’ve been using the Mac version for 23 months. This brings its value to 3.4783€/month. Get-go users paid 1.194€/month.

Value Over Time Summary

By looking at the numbers it becomes clear that the “value” over time makes new major versions of these apps justifiable.

Release Schedule

Some numbers indicate a tighter release schedule. Just perceived or real, OmniPlan has been out 17 months before it received a new major release, OmniGraffle a whopping 67. OmniGraffle users got a lot more bang for the buck, if you will. OmniFocus for iPhone users got to use their app for 48 months. Not too bad.

I think the main problem customers have is that their old app just disappears from the store. “Customers hate the current method of paid ‘upgrades.’” - marco.org.

Despite the fact that a new version of OS X and iOS will come out/has come out and a developers’ job is to look good in the store. What would have been Omni’s options? Not bringing out a new version of an app, consider the huge changes to the operating system, would mean their competitors get an advantage.

I contacted Omni in regards to my problem. They offered a very (very) generous refund. That means I’ll be able to use OmniPlan 2 for iPad very (very) soon! Thank you, Omni.

  1. Fun fact: I bought the iPhone version, before I even had an iPhone. 

  2. I got my iPad late 2011, in November.