Review – Milk 2 (Desktop Tumblr)

A few weeks back at MacWorld/iWorld I had the pleasure of meeting Diego, the developer for the Desktop Tumblr app called Milk 2.  He was showcasing his app in App developer space, and was having pretty good traffic.  We talked for a bit, and he indicated the app should be released in the App Store on April 24th, and would I be interesting in beta testing it. I was not a big tumblr user, but I do have two accounts one for this blog: TriangleAppShow and on for my other podcast GamesAtWork.Biz.  Given that one of the features that Diego talked about was the ability to manage multiple tumblrs like you would your email accounts, I jumped at the chance to help beta test. To be fair, not being a big tumblr probably helped, because I could ask the naive questions during the beta.

So what did I think?  Overall the app does exactly what you want.  It takes the tumblr management experience and puts it into a desktop app.  It also allows you to look at the people you follow and easily scroll thru all the content (just like I do with my RSS feeds).  I found the interface clean and intuitive.  There are lots of additional little hints to help you understand if a post is link post, a picture post, or a video post.  If you are a follower of a lot of different tumblr blogs / feeds, this app is for you.  If you are comfortable with the web interface than it is probably not compelling enough to make you switch (except for the key feature in my mind, the ease of which you can swap back and forth between multiple accounts.

Switching between accountsAs you can see it is as simple as selecting the account you want to work with from the menu.  Adding a new account prompts you with a Tumblr log in and attaches it to this menu.

Since I only have two accounts the list is pretty short, but if you are managing many accounts, this is a great way of swapping back and forth.

 

The overall interface is very much like Apple Mail:

Milk 2 Overall InterfaceThe left most column is the various aspects of our account. The dashboard, the likes you may have selected, your own blog, with it’s appropriate VIPs and mutes, any followers you may have (so you can easily look at what they are posting), tags you have safe (remember Tumblr’s power is all the great tags so you can search for appropriate content, etc.) and Search History.  If you find yourself searching for content across Tumblr a lot, going back to these search histories to find things to include on your Tumblr is a great time saving feature.

And since Tumblr is about sharing and cross-sharing others content search history is a must have function.

The second (center) column equates to your messages related to the selected item (folder in mail terms) in the left column.  In the above picture we are look at all items so you see the Tumlbr staff picks, my posts, and any group I may be following.  The small icons on the left side of the center column matches the folder from where it came and the type of post it is.

The third (right most) column is the detailed message you are viewing.

Posting a new messageWhen you post a new message you can chose the type of post (just like you can on tumblr and you will be prompted with a content window:

Post Content Window

This window is allows you to compose your entry and add the various tags, etc. that tumblr expects.

Overall the app behaves as you would expect.  If you are a frequent tumblr and want a desktop app, this app is for you.

Five days with Google Glass

With Glass

With Glass

As I mentioned in my last post, my Google glass arrived on Monday and I ran into a few problems to start with. I don’t want to color the experience with those day one battery problems, so I decided to wait until today to provide a more detailed description of my experience so far.

I’ve been playing with Glass for 5 days now, and I can see the potential.  The first question that people ask me when they see me wearing glass is, “Is it worth $1,500?”  I can honestly say that for the average consumer the answer is a big no.  But that’s not the point in having it now.  The point in having it now is to explore the possibilities of a beta product.    And in that regard I think the price is fair.  One thing that you have is the option to swap it out once as a developer.  This makes a lot of sense as Google should be quickly advancing the tech, so that when it does become a consumer product you are not stuck with having to buy it again.  This is an amazing deal, and I wish that more product development teams would consider this as a way of saying thank you to the earliest adopters.

A day after I got Glass, a software update was introduced.  This has actually made it somewhat less reliable and it is consuming more battery now.  (Ah, the wonders of beta testing).  There’s been a lot of help offered by the community in trying to address some of these issues.  If you want to get a view into those discussions I highly recommending joining the explorer community over on Google+.  The team of there is helpful and truly engaged.

As I mentioned on my other podcast – GamesAtWork.biz – the biggest issue I have right now is that I am using AT&T and am grandfathered in on the unlimited data plan.  To get all of the advantages of Glass, you need to tether it to your cell phone.  In order to enable tethering on my data plan, I will lose my unlimited plan and I use WAY TOO MUCH data to give it up. So all my experience is based on either connecting to a local wifi hot spot, or using the Bluetooth to access some set of capabilities.

The basic capabilities that come with glass are – take a picture, take a video, get email notifications, social interactions with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and youtube, You get access to your calendar, etc.  One thing that I can’t test is the head up version of a GPS.  Having directions tied nicely to my calendar is a cool service that is enabled via other apps on my cell phone, but seeing it as a drive would be helpful.

One of the big jokes on SNL a year or so ago what the head nod that was used to enable Glass to react.  This is not required, you can touch the side to get it to wake up, instead of the head nod.  The head nod is great for a complete hands free option, however, a simple glance up activates Glass. In a public setting, and with some of the recent stories of people getting upset with glass, I’d rather not have Glass come on unless I want it on.

The interface of Glass, i.e. the Google Now cards, works really well.  It provides you with the data you want at a glance.  It’s clean and clear, and decided to show relevant info at a glance.  You can find the Developer reference here.

I’ve take a ton more pictures this week thanks to Glass, and even posted a few on Google+.  This is funny, because traditionally Google+ has been a location of last resort to me given that their interface tends to be a bit one off from all there other services.  Glass should make Google much more popular for social sharing.

As with all betas things are not working great all around.  I still can’t connect to the WiFi at my favorite Durham Coffee shop – BeanTraders.  While I know I have the network configured correctly (it works with my laptop, my iPad, my iPhone and my Android Tablet), Glass fails to connect.  I also noticed that there are no settings to allow me to connect to my corporate wifi, as it doesn’t appear to support the LEAP protocol.  Given that I can’t tether, this means that the utility of Glass is immediately reduced when I leave the house.

I’ve been working on connecting Glass to my glasses, since having the Glass frame and my glasses frame cause problems with placement and view.  To that end, I am working with the instructions from the AdaFruit site.  Will let you know how this works out.

I am sure as I explore more I will post more… I am excited by the possibilities yet to be realized.

Early early impressions of google glass

I received my google glass order yesterday and was excited to open the box. When it tried to start it up, it appeared that the battery was in a state of deep discharge. After two calls to tech support, I was able to get it to charge and right before I went to bed, it was working and setup.
This morning I wore them to my favorite coffee shop and got ready to connect to the wifi at BeanTraders and after multiple tries I cannot get it to work. I am going to do some work today and hopefully discover how to get it to setup correctly, and report back in after 24 hours with glass.

Continuing to explore CoreData

A few weeks back I was at MacWorld where I talked to the people at APRESS to see what books they may have on CoreData. They had one that seemed to be pretty good and I have picked it up. The book is called Pro Core Data for iOS: Data Access and Persistence Engine for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch by MIchael Privat and Robert Wamer. While the book only covers thru iOS4, I figure it may have a better structure and approach for understanding the basics of CoreData.

I plan on spending time over the next few months going thru this book…and will provide some feedback here on what I think of it, and if it helps me get passed my mental block on CoreData.

ReKoMe! A Tag Your Photos Automatically

One of the booths I didn’t get to see at MacWorld/iWorld is the app ReKoMe. I was watching the videos that Chuck Joiner did over at MacVoices, and realized I should have made time to see them. I decided that I would download the Beta and test it out today. Overall this is a pretty amazing tool. The App dynamically adds tags to your pictures so that you can search for images. It can identify scenes, people, things, etc. So far it only works on iOS7 devices, and it requires your images to be local to your device (so it would look at images in your photo stream). I normally don’t keep pictures on my iPhone, even with 64gb, I don’t have the room for my photo library, but I took a chance this morning and put a copy of my iPhoto library back on the phone. The device is now giving me memory warnings, but I do have a lot of pictures.

After loading all the images on the device, I’ve been waiting for the app to tag and identify all the photos. The process took about two hours for 12,000 pictures, I started playing with how well the tagging was. Overall, it’s pretty impressive. It did, however, flag some pictures of european buildings as Snowstorms. I guess the gray confused it. If you have too many pictures to manage, this may be the app for you.

Impressions of MacWorld 2014

As you’ve seen on my last few posts, I haver gotten back from my yearly geek week vacation at MacWorld. It was great to hang out with friends, talk tech, drink a few beers, and see what new gadgets are coming out. Overall, I enjoyed myself this year, but the sessions have become less content full. What I mean is they all felt like they were too short, and the speakers too rushed. They had great topics, and the speakers were knowledgable but every session seemed to just skim the surface. As they did this, they teased that they would go deeper if they had time. There were also less sessions then in prior years, and the ones that I wanted to see seems to be on top of each other’s. I could only go to half of the ones I wanted to see.