Monday, April 23, 2012

muCommander to "complement" Finder in OSX Lion

I recently found muCommander File Manager. It's simple, dual-pane file manager (as a bonus, it's also multiplatform due to it's java usage). It supports natively several file protocol e.g: smb, ftp. However, the biggest use of it for me currently is that it can open windows share when Finder can not.

I have many issues with Windows Share in Finder and it can break the workflow sometime. muCommander help with that in many cases. On some other needs, it does not entirely solve the problem since it can not mount it and only allow transfer. This means I can not open the file directly through the share but need to copy it locally first. Still, it's a good help for now until Apple fix the interoperability with Windows Share.

Apart from that, I probably won't use it much beyond helping the windows share issue above. and some occasional need for dual pane.  It's a nice looking File Manager but a little too simplistic for my needs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Powerful but light PHP Framework/Library combination : Slim, Twig, Idiorm/Paris

I need to work on PHP website recently and were looking for libraries and framework to approach it better with the latest components available. My previous perception on PHP is that it has has a lot to catch up with existing solutions on Ruby and Python. However, this time it seems it already has done it's homework and now has many options regarding some development in web programming e.g: Template Engine, Microframework, ORM.

Here several libraries/framework that I find can form a good combination for small to medium project :

  • Slim is a micro framework for PHP. It is a good enough to help separate the web application into a more modular, decoupled architecture (call it something like MVC if you like). It's a very low-cost approach compare to using full-blown framework like Zend. In Python, I used Flask and it's quite similar.
  • Twig is a templating Engine. It's like Jinja in Python. In fact, the initial coder is Jinja developer, so it's not too strange that it feels quite similar. I don't think people should write/generate HTML code inside PHP directly  anymore. It's inhumane :). Templating engine helps the code deal with the logic exclusively while it deals with how to present it. It has a good two-ray integration with Slim above : there's Slim extension for Twig and Twig can be plug to Slim as Template engine.
  • Idiorm/Paris is a a very light ORM layer for PHP. It just one class and one file with a straightforward and simple uses yet it does the job really well.
So far, I find the combination above serve me quite well. They are quite flexible, does not force too much assumptions/model and has small learning-curve and overhead.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Manage Linux system services using sys-rc-conv

There's a good tool to help manage system service in linux : sysv-rc-conv that I start to used just recenrly. It's much better than having to deal with /etc/rc*.d stuff.

I don't know why I haven't used it before, probably because of the name :). It does describe the context and function well but not exactly easy to remember and pass around.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Integrating Apple Ecosystem

Early this year I got some iPhone app project to start. So, it began my serious usage of Apple Ecosystem. I start to use together iMac, iPhone4 and iPad2. It's been a very involving process to get them integrated into my current workflow (which up till then was mostly Windows-based). Most of my previous system is still used except for HTC Touch Pro2 which is replaced by iPhone4. Below are some notes on the integration process :

  • Moving to The Cloud. My previous main GTD system is synced directly using cable with my HTC-TP2 act as the central on the synching with Laptop and Desktop with WMDC and BirdieSync as a glue. With the inclusion of the new devices it would no longer possible (or at least very impractical) to keep doing it. I guess this is what the clouds are made for. I now rely on Google Map, ToodleDo and Dropbox for most of the syncing.
  • Java-Based software are ported well. Java works. I got jEdit, Freeplane, Astah working and ready to use on
  • Mutliplatform software do it's job well. Firefox and Thunderbird has no issues here.
  • Most of the software has comparable counterparts. Most of the software has more or less a comparable alternative on each platform. Some are better but some are less fancy, so overall it's a draw, I guess. I miss TortoiseSVN quite a lot in iMac.
Apart from the software it's mostly the adaptation that take some time. I don't like to just imitate what I did on other platform to another one. It's more satisfying, and useful on the long run, to try to understand first the new platform different approach and to migrate the needs as natively as possible before improvising more later on. For example, I tried built in Mail and Calendar on iMac for sometime before switching back to Thunderbird+Lightning.

So far, I enjoy the new systems and it brings many fresh views, new approach and utilities.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

jEdit on Mac : How to get better font rendering

Text Editor is one of the first software I look around when I start using Mac. I am a jEdit user on windows but I figure I tried what's available natively on Mac first, in case there's something better and works natively. Long story short, jEdit is still the best option for me.

It runs quite well on Mac but somehow it seems something is a bit miss in the way it renders font. The characters are a bit blurry, although not too bad and I still managed to ignore it for sometime. However, after a while, the difference with the native editor like TextEdit start to raise some curiosity about the difference on how they render the font.

The discussion here, finally shed some lights on the issue. Below is what need to be set on jEdit (quoted from the original post) :

Edit the file: /Applications/

.. somewhere around line 66 you'll see these options


.. just after those lines, add the following extra properties:

.. restart jEdit, and you should have much nicer font rendering!

It looks much nicer after it and give me even less reason to try to move from jEdit.