Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Picking a GoogleVoice phone number

Monday, December 13th, 2010

screenshotI decided to use Google Voice service. The first problem I had was to select the phone number I wanted to use. This screen shot shows how one can pick a phone.

There is a rudimentary search, but if one wants to have a phone that spells a word or a phrase, then this search dialog is not really helpful. You are also given only five phone numbers at a time and you can not filter these numbers. For example, I would like to ask for phone numbers that does not contain 0 or 1 (which do not have letters associated with them).

The brute force approach was to look at the current five phones, select ones that do not have 0s or 1s and paste them into a website that tries to match a phone number with words (I used dialabc.com). After repeating the process a few times I realized that it was way to slow…

screenshotSome time ago I cam across Sikuli and it seems that this was a job for this software. I quickly wrote a script (using their IDE) that found all radio buttons, selected phones next to them, copied them into Notepad, clicked “Next 5 >” button and repeated the procedure. Strangely enough, I did not see a direct way to copy/paste text in Sikuli, and that’s why I had to use keyboard shortcuts.

Once I got the phone numbers in the text file I wrote a trivial perl script to filter out ones that I wanted and create links to dialabc.com that would show what the numbers can spell. The list of links was opened in Firefox using Url lister plugin.

At this point all I had to do was to look at a web page with proposed words and if I did not like them I simply closed the tab, which presented me with the next opened tab. This way I was able to review many numbers quickly and pick the one that I liked.

Mac experiences, swithcing from Windows7

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Due to the circumstances (aka job requirements) I pursue Java development on Mac OS X. I did not have too much experience with macs before, but I always heard that Apple places usability of their products as the very first priority (therefore no multitasking on iPhones). Given such rumors I had very high expectations. So here are my impressions.

The very first thing I had to do is to change my password on the first login… and, of course, I did not know the requirements for the password length. Could you imagine my confusion when I entered the password, repeated it, and after pressing okay button all I see is a shaking window and cleared password fields. Did I enter the second password wrong? Did I do something else wrong? No hints, no messages, just empty password fields. Is there anything else to say?

Once I got in, I wanted to adjust windows on my screens. To my surprise, I can only resize window by dragging the corner. I can not resize by dragging the side of the window, which is very annoying if I want to extend a window to the left, because it is already against the right edge of the screen. I am used to using keyboard shortcuts to position windows on the screen and then use mouse if I need more adjustments. For windows I am using winsplit-revolution. For Mac I found ShiftIt, which is not as powerful or configurable as winsplit-revolution, but at least it is also free.

Okay, how do I set a keyboard shortcut to start an application? Not clear at all. Long time users of the Mac suggested to use Spotlight, Quicksilver, and, of course, “just click it on the Dock…”. The fact that I need a third party software for such a task is surprising to me. I ended up using Quicksilver.

Default bindings for Home and End keys were especially alien to me. My first response was to adjusting key bindings, and customize keys for Firefox, which allowed me to change accelKey to be control key, just as Firefox on Windows (the same applied to Thunderbird). But at the end I went back to defaults and learned the mac way…

On the bright side I like having shell without a need for cygwin. After using mac for a few month I would say I am 95% as proficient with it as I was with windows (the other 5% being remembering OS specific features such as taking a screen capture, etc.)

RescueTime vs ManicTime vs Wakoopa

Monday, January 18th, 2010

After running ManicTime I found the application was not meeting my requirements exactly. The application does not reuse tags automatically, this means that I need manually assign tags every an application was used. On the other hand, the statistics pane allows me to create specific groups of applications that are used to show time, which essentially gives me the result I want. The downside is that there is no information about what documents were open by the applications. If I use the same applications for different projects, then I can not differentiate between those projects. On the good side, the program author responded very quickly to my request and promised that the new release will have some updates that will be useful for me.