end kvetch

Macs, productivity, &c.

One Skitch Invite to Go

I’ve given away four of my Skitch invites (the last one came with a very generous offer to name the invitee’s first child Gnome). So send in your applications now (please include résumé and three references1) and you will be considered.

Footnotes: 1 Please don’t. I don’t want to have to talk to your ex-boss at the catfood market.

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Software Sumo: YummySoup! vs. MacGourmet


As you can probably tell from my recent influx of Chef RPG-related posts and the fact that I was watching cooking shows at 3 last night, I am more into cooking than usual. So, seeing as how there are just about as many cooking apps are there are RSS readers for Mac I decided to review two of the more prominent ones. This Software Sumo will be a little different because I am not going into it with a clear preference. Also, rather than having Freeware vs. Lite version of shareware like usual, we will have two paid apps facing off.


Both apps have a fairly basic interface. We have the conventional three-pane view with a sidebar containing folders, a top pane with recipes and a bottom pane that displays the selected one.

macgor.png saved-screenshot.png

Although it seems like a silly thing to say, I must point out that I prefer the default proportions of YummySoup! better. Overall, the YS! interface seems more polished and modern. One thing I like about MacGourmet is the ability to choose different layout styles for the recipes (akin to message views in Adium). In YS! there is a “browse by image” option that is rather Cover Flow-esque. My main (and really, only) issue with the YS! interface is that damn seal thing. I appreciate that they let you change the default recipe image but it still lurks around. If MG did that I wouldn’t mind because I like their icon.

YummySoup!: 8/10 – Despite that stupid seal this is a very good interface.
MacGourmet: 7/10 – Good, but feels a little cluttered and rough.


Both of these applications have all of the things you would expect from a recipe keeper. They have a full-screen (or large) view, ratings, difficulty, pictures, shopping and wine lists, etc. Most of these things I will never use, and may even consider as bloatage but its always nice to know that I can plan my wines in advance.

The recipe adding interface, arguably the most important part, is where I noticed the greatest difference. YS! has a very simple, one-paned design with handy autofill (configurable in the menu), MG, on the other had is a complicated jumble. In fact, the MG interface was so unintuitive that I wasn’t even sure where to put the actual name of the ingredient. I also don’t get why MG needs a whopping seven panes to get done only slightly more than what YS! can do in a single one (MG allows you to enter tools and nutritional information).


YummySoup!: 10/10 – The only feature it lacks is someone to cook the food for you.
MacGourmet: 8/10 – Same features, but many are poorly executed.


YummySoup!: 18/20 – A better application at a lower price. I’d go with this one. No doubt.
MacGourmet: 15/20 – Not only does it cost $5 more but its harder to use.

YummySoup! – $20
MacGourmet – $24.95 (Most popular software price)

Thank you, and join us next time when we’ll review assignment trackers, just in time for back to school!

Filed under: Apple, Software Sumo, , , , , , , ,

An Ode to ON Networks (Comic Style)

ON Networks provides just about all the internet TV that I watch. So, as a little thank-you gag gift I made them this comic…

(Click for full size, aka, readable)

I intended it to be read backwards (right to left) like manga but it doesn’t really matter after the first row. And I actually like the “Budget Health Nut” panel better read left to right.

Filed under: Odes, , , ,

An Ode to TUAW

As those of you who have looked at the Links in any detail will already know, I ❤ TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog). I love their witty hyperlinking, their obsession with Apple to meet and exceed mine, their acronym that sounds like a world but isn’t. Simply put, I am in love with TUAW. Obviously, a while back the announcement that they were hiring delighted me. I knew I didn’t stand a chance, but the thought of moonlighting as a high-powered tech blogger intrigued me so. Sadly, the already shaky bubble burst when the adended (or whatever the word is) the addendum “you must be 18 or older”. I mean, no wonder they’re always a couple minutes behind Engadget, with old fogies running the place.


P.S. That was so not sour grapes.

Filed under: Everyday Ramblings, , ,

Finally, the Questing Days are Over

Although it wasn’t really a consideration when I moved to WordPress I soon realized that Journler works with WordPress. Obviously I am very happy about this, especially since I’m not crazy about the WordPress web interface. Since I have chosen Journler for my note-taking application this year it will would be super easy to blog during school (and school, like the dentist, always provides good blog fodder) while looking like the diligent student– not that I would do that. Just saying.

Regardless, despite the initial spats WordPress and I are getting along now just fine (we just needed a third-party mediator).

Update: The annoying thing about offline editors is their uncanny ability to generate useless HTML, and, of course, their willingness to convert your tags into web-safe symbols.

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My Revolutionary Not-Too-Exciting Note System

I’m not the kind of person who likes to take notes. This isn’t really the problem that it sounds like because I can member most things without having to refer back to a little scrap of paper.

Much of my note-phobia originates from a) my horrible handwriting and b) the difficulties in trying to come up with a good organizational system for pieces of easily torn notebook paper. My original solution, Levenger’s Circa, solved the second problem (for the most part) but not the first.

Prior to my Circa debut (no, this isn’t my life story, I am getting to the point) I had had one fleeting experience with computerized note-taking. These notes were marvelous, clearly organized and infused with sarcasm. I was in love. Sadly, at the time computerized note-taking was not practical (no, not because it was 1980 and computers were the size of small armories) because I did not yet have a laptop. This all changed in the winter of 2006/2007 when I got a MacBook of my very own. I started off, like most novice note-takers, in MS Word. But as I pointed out in my earlier journaling software review, Word lacks the capability to organize multiple documents. At this point I was using the glorious Schoolhouse 2.0 to organize my assignments (having recently moved on from the not-so-glorious iCal). Schoolhouse contains a fairly rudimentary note-taking system (basically a version of TextEdit which stores documents to the application rather than a file) which I used happily until the end of the year (its probably the reason I did so well in biology1).

It seems like a rather anti-climactic ended, right? Well its not the end. *Dramatic music*

Frankly, for all my praise Schoolhouse isn’t really the best solution for me (although that could all change with the possibility of a third version come-September).

(Sorry, putting this post on hold, there’s a new episode of The Burg)

Anyway, as I was saying, Schoolhouse isn’t really the best assignment tracker for me (I think I’m going to crawl back to iCal) and its certainly not the best note-taking system. This is where Journler (the winner of the first Software Sumo) comes in.

After realizing that lots of numbers and abbreviations make note titles frickin’ awesome2 I came up with a simple little cataloging system to use with the journaling superstar. The system has three components: the subject (a letter abbreviation), the quarter number and the note number. For instance, ENG.1.5 would mean the fifth English note of the first quarter. A title can then be tacked onto the back (making for “ENG.1.5: The Rise of Hemmingway”, which sounds an awful lot like a sci-fi film). Another nice thing about Journler (which I neglected to mention in the review) is its wiki-like linking between entries. So, if I make reference to a concept I can then link back to a full entry pertaining to it, something which I really liked doing in VoodooPad.

So, there you go. If you were able to read that entire thing I commend you and know you know all my note-taking secrets (which you probably didn’t want in the first place).

1 Not to brag, but I was at near the top of my class.
2 As it were, that’s how I described the liver on my bio final.

Filed under: Oldies, Productivity, , , , ,

Apple Has Drawn Me Out of Hiatus

With all of Apple’s new product updates I’m unable to resist coming out of my unannounced hiatus.

So, first off I’ve gotta say I’m not too thrilled about the iMacs (I was really hoping they would look like this) with their weird black thing and whatnot (I guess environmental friendliness comes at a price– which I’m not willing to pay). And with the slogan “You can never be too thin. Or too powerful.” it seems like they’re just asking for some mother’s watchdog group to accuse Apple or brainwashing their little fanboys girls. (I came up with the slogan “The new iMac– more than just iCandy”.)

As for the software updates– four letters for you: h-a-w-t. I gotta love a better iMovie but I think they over-simplified it a little too much, it just looks too simple. iPhoto is looking nice with its new features but it’s all the same to me, seeing as how I don’t use iPhoto. And as for iWeb, Garage Band, et all– whatever.

I got pretty pumped about Numbers (the new Excel killer) even though it looks (much like Pages) to be more for making your documents pretty rather than powerful. Sadly, when I downloaded the free trial it informed me that I would have to upgrade to OS 10.4.10 which I’m just not willing to do (seeing as I’d have to redo all the icons I’ve applied). So I’ll just have to wait for TUAW to dish out the news.

(Oh yeah, and those new keyboards aren’t half bad either).

Filed under: Apple, Oldies, , , , ,