It seems like a very, very long time ago that we were mired in planning sessions for OmniWeb 5. By “we” I mean “people much smarter than myself”, of course, although I do take credit for the never-implemented Wholesome History Populator feature (replace your day of youtube surfing and WoW geekfests with the browsing history of your choice! Pre-loaded contents include “Honey I Was Thinking Of You”, several hours worth of Amazon-combing for that perfect birthday gift; “Just Doing Some Market Research”, a trail of crumbs leading through a variety of industry topics to impress your boss; and, in worse-case scenarios, “What's This Funny Rash”, a thorough search of WebMD that virtually guarantees the subject of how much time you spend online will never be questioned).
But anyway, back then we put a lot of effort into building new features for OmniWeb. It was an exciting time for the OmniWeb development process as things like workspaces and graphical tabs and shortcuts started emerging from the alpha-soup and we all started using them. A huge amount of work later, OmniWeb 5 shipped: ta da!
Then, after a while, we had to catch up with WebKit. We had to get OmniWeb's compatibility and performance back up to par, we needed a Universal release, we needed some fixes. And so for many months now, the OmniWeb dev team has been chipping away at the non-fun stuff; not cool features or eye-popping UI, but the complicated headachey stuff under the hood that makes a web browser, you know, work.
(“Stuff”. Niiice. Once again my less-than-viselike grip on the technical aspects of our work has failed us all.)
We realize that in order for OmniWeb to stay in your Dock, we have to continue innovating. We need to do what we're best at: developing useful, fun features that work the way you want them to. Upcoming versions of OmniWeb need to kick ass and take names, basically. And that's what we want to do.
However, in the meantime, I don't want to lose sight of a huge accomplishment by our Web team: OmniWeb 5.5 is out. The final release, after months of hard work and persistent beta testers (for whom we are insanely grateful) and an espresso machine that has broken about fifty-three times from overuse.
If you haven't used OmniWeb in a while, I recommend trying 5.5 out. This version doesn't provide you with many citrus-scented whistles and bells, but it's faster. It's better. It's performance is vastly improved, and hey, it still has all the unique stuff that 5.0 was touted for.
A big congratulations to the OmniWeb team, and now we can start turning our attention to the next versions of OmniWeb. Yes, there will be some small fixer-upper 5.5x releases, but then? Features, by god. Honestly, I don't know if the coffee machine can handle it.
I thought it would be interesting to find out what non-Omni software our employees enjoy using, and share that information with the rest of you. You know, paying it forward, just like that endearing movie with Kevin Spacey. Get out the hankies!
Or…not. Anyway, via an email tangent that came about during the polling process, I learned that out of 24 employees, NINE of us are left-handed. Isn't that amazing? Aren't you totally freaking out right now?
I mean, considering 13-30% of the population is left-handed, that practically makes Omni a team of mutants. Like the X-Men. Personally, I hope my thus-undiscovered superpower has to do with setting things on fire…with my mind. I'll start with Paris Hilton. You're welcome.
Onward to the software recommendations! Note that I asked for “lesser-known” apps, because you've probably already heard of a little thing called iTunes.
Aaron: iSquint. “It's pretty awesome.”
Joel: “I used to play Tranquility a lot, nice pleasant game.”
Ryan: “My vote is for TextWrangler and SuperDuper! (sic) - I use both everyday.”
Terry: “Final Draft - script writing; Ableton Live - audio/loops; Waves - Audio Plugins; ARTURIA minimoog V - soft synthesizer.”
Liz: “Snapz Pro X—that screenshot-grabbing app plus a little mark-up in Graffle makes it really easy for me to communicate with our engineers about bugs and UI improvements.”
James: “TextMate, Quicksilver, and Adium are 3 that I really like.”
Troy: “Here's something that I've been using a lot lately…Art Collector: a small app that makes adding artwork to your itunes library a breeze.”
Brian: Endicia, “'cause getting your face on postage is cool, especially when it's written by Pat and Aaron of buyolympia fame.”
Tim: “The 3rd party things I use most often are pretty common and well known :/ (TextMate, Quicksilver, SuperDuper!)
Ken: “I have just one app in my dock that isn't from Omni or Apple: Quicksilver.”
Bill: “I have a lot of happy apps I love to use: Transmit, SubEthaEdit, Tensai, Chax, ChronoSync, Delicious Library, iScrobbler, LaunchBar, NetNewsWire, Teleport.” (Damn, Bill. Rock on with your software-loving self.)
As for me, the most exciting software I've used lately is Barcode Producer. It generates barcodes, like for retail packaging. Handy if you need to, say, produce a whole new size of retail box required by the Apple Stores that renders your entire line of inventory obsolete. You know. For example.
So there you are. If you're of a mind, let us know what cool apps you're using, too.
Yesterday we released a new beta of OmniDazzle 1.0.1, and today we released new betas of OmniPlan 1.0, OmniOutliner 3.6.1, and OmniWeb 5.5. So if you're a user of any of these products, you might want to check out the latest versions! There are links to all of these at www.omnigroup.com, or you can go directly to the beta of your choice using one of these links:
Occasionally I'll stumble across an image on the web that looks strangely familiar. Aah, the smoothness of line, the roundness of clouds, ... smells like Graffle! Most recently I was wasting time on digg and saw some interesting network packet diagrams. Looking at the PDF file, I could plainly see the evidence!
This got me to wondering—how many Graffle-generated PDF documents are out there. Google to the rescue!
This turned up a bunch of interesting and strange results. Here are my favorites from the first five pages of hits. What other fun Graffle documents can you find on Google? Gooffle, the sport of kings!
- Pretty pictures, really, that's what drew me to this one. That and the math (presumably from TeXshop and/or EquationService).
- Ruby Method Dispatch. The Kernel bone's connected to the Object bone, the Object bone's connected to the Module bone… Nice use of line hops, too.
- More line hops. Someone probably understands this graph, but I just like trying to count the line hops.
- State of Mac Web Design, In which we learn that we need to send one Mr. Teague an OmniWeb license. And that he considers Safari only half a browser.
- Worms! These guys are probably pretty smart and serious, but their box titles hint at humor. The Worm Menace!
- Vassar Router Setup gives us advice that every student should learn:
DO NOT use the “internet” port (put a piece of tape over it)
- Things that make you go, “huh?” A WinXP memory layout diagram, made on a Mac.
- DOE Annual Review Fermilab pimps their tape storage.
- DOJ this time. I don't want to live in this neighborhood.
- Cake or death? A nice advert for a talk about death, but at the bottom there is a reprieve of refreshments.
Rawr, I'm a panther! Now that I'm done wasting time on digg and google, I have something else to go do…
This is a small maintenance release to address some stability and usability issues found in OmniDazzle 1.0. A new feature release is still in planning.
- Added workaround for bug in the Accessibility support in Mac OS X that would cause crashes when Focal Point queried menus or popups in other applications in some cases.
- Help pages now have individual titles for improved searching.
- Pressing the escape key with the Zoom plug-in with the selection indicator still active now also marks the screen 'clear' so you no longer have to manually do this to use the plug-in again.
- Added correction to the software update query to avoid reporting incorrect data.
Download OmniDazzle 1.0.1 Beta 1
Have you noticed that no one is exactly neutral about Snakes On a Plane? Either someone wants to see some blinkety-blank snakes on a blinkety-blank plane, or they really, really don't.
Case in point: we decided to host an Omni movie outing in honor of SOaP's opening day. Omni does this occasionally (see also: Star Wars, X-Men), but I think this is the first movie our employees are passionately divided about seeing.
Employee A: You mean the movie/internet phenomenon that involves both snakes, planes, and the promise of Samuel L. Jackson saying an R-rated phrase that we've all been dreaming of hearing for months on end? You bet your sweet patoot I'll be there, and I'll be wearing my snakes-on-a-hat!
Employee B: You're being serious. About this stupid movie that's going to suck. Um, no thanks, I'd rather drink paint.
Those of us that fall into the first camp will be at Cinerama today at 1:30, possibly sporting snake-themed clothing items. If you're in the area and up for a last minute outing, come join us! You know, unless you'd rather drink paint.
Sssssee you there.
(Heh. Ssssorry, I couldn't help mysssself.)
Thanks for all your ideas on the App Which Has Not Yet Been Named. My personal favorites, in no particular order:
â?¢ OmniNCF (â??non-cat findingâ?? app), suggested by WrongSizeGlass, who went on to include the following:
â?¨Someone: â??Hey, have you heard about Omniâ??s new application that canâ??t find cats?â??â?¨Someone Else: â??Phft. Microsoftâ??s had one for years.â??
â?¢ OmniCheesecake, because as Seth pointed out, what's, like, better than cheesecake?
â?¢ Finally, Vicki's idea: OmniBaffle. That way OmniGraffle could have a friend with whom to commiserate. (“Dude, everyone calls me OmniGiraffe.” “I know, man…I know.”)
We haven't decided on a name yet â?? code or otherwise â?? but now we have a veritable plethora of concepts, both serious and, uh, otherwise (Butterstick??). Stay tuned, I hope to have a useful update on this project's progress in a few weeks.
My 11-month old son has a book called Big Noisy Trucks and Diggers Demolition, which is a licensed product of, no kidding, Caterpillar Inc. (I suppose the gender-stereotypical equivalent marketed for little girls might be Fluffy Pink Ponies and Their Sparkly Anorexic Math-Hating Princess Friends.) The book details the thrilling adventures of demolition excavators and track loaders and so on, which I can tell you from first-hand experience is even more brain-numbing to read aloud than Sock Monkey Goes To Hollywood.
Anyway, while I don't guess that his Big Noisy Trucks book will prepare him for a future career in demolitions any more than his other books will help him become a Sock Monkey or a Very Hungry Caterpillar, I got to wondering about when it is that people start developing interests that stick with them throughout their lives.
Now for me, careerwise I was drawn to the fabulous art of Corporate Hyperbole at a young age because my aunt ran her own ad agency. Advertising/marketing seemed like such a glamorous, exciting world, especially after I learned that Campbell's Soup Company had very nearly accepted the joke soup name idea “Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Meat!”. As for hobbies, I discovered BBSes when I was 12 or so on our crusty, ancient DOS machine, and finally stepped up to a PowerMac in…maybe 1997? Which I used mainly for playing Lode Runner and surfing, oh the shame, AOL.
And lo, the results of a non-techie's interest in computers and the secret desire to someday include the words “Great Balls of Meat” in a company-sponsored marketing vehicle: this very blog. (I'm totally playing the theme from Chariots of Fire right now, by the way. Duh dum duh duh DUH duhh….)
Ahem. Moving on. To my POINT, which is…what about you? When did you start becoming interested in software, in Macs? Was it when you were a kid, or older, or? Tell us your story in the comments section!
A while ago I returned from a family vacation to discover that our cat had gone missing. While the cat is at least 87% evil and often spends her time stealth-barfing into my shoes, I was concerned. After a worrying amount of time had elapsed and walking around shouting her name into various bushes had produced no results (well, other than being forever known as the Crazy Neighborhood Cat Lady), I turned to the one piece of software I knew could help.
That's right: OmniGraffle.
Exactly one day later, our cat made a dramatic reappearance – slightly haggard but no worse for wear.
I think not.
OmniGraffle: it has the page layout functions to find your lost cat. I'm in marketing, so what I say must be true!
(Note: your lost cat results may vary. Offer void where prohibited, taxed or restricted. Current version of OmniGraffle recommended for all cat-location activities.)
Okay, now for some blog content you might actually care about: an update on the Omni “GTD app” progress.
Well, I don't have much news yet. Sorry, that's kind of a sucky update, but it's the truth. We have lots of feedback from everyone and a plan of sorts (including a UI mockup that is actually very exciting), it's now a matter of finding engineering resources and re-prioritizing other projects.
We're still really interested in doing this, and we are going to keep you posted on what we're doing. Hopefully when the engineers are back from WWDC we'll be able to start making some real progress.
Finally, it's been suggested that using the term “GTD” when referring to this project is maybe not such a hot idea, so we need a good code name. Want to give us one? Best suggestion wins a software license of your choice. Extra points given for sophomoric humor, pop culture references, or anything that makes us email your idea around internally with the subject line “OMG OUR USERS ARE CRAZY”. The comments sections awaits!