Joel Sutherland

Hacker News Mobile

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I just launched this mini-project today. It's a mobile-friendly website for Hacker News.  The screenshot above shows both the website and how folks there seemed to like it;)

We'll Do it Live!

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I'm going to play around with my site design, I'm going to do it live so things may look funky.

 

Adobe Photoshop Pricing: Mac and PC

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About a year ago I purchased a retail license of Adobe Photoshop CS4 ($699). As allowed by the license, I installed it on my desktop and laptop, both Windows.

In July, 2010, CS5 was released. This was important because it meant that they no longer allowed CS4 licenses to move between Mac and PC. So here are my options with a 9 month old product:

  1. Upgrade my Windows desktop to CS5 ($199) and buy a new copy of CS5 for the Mac ($699): $897
  2. Replace the desktop with a refurb Mac Mini ($599) and upgrade my CS4 license to CS5 ($199): $797
  3. Run CS4 on the desktop and Upgrade the Mac to CS5 by calling a special department: $199
  4. GIMP on the Macbook: $0

It seems completely silly that if I want to run the same version of Photoshop on my two computers, it is cheaper to just buy another computer than deal with Adobe.

If Adobe keeps things like this up, I'll bet people start pirating their software.

Update on Tech Trials

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Two weeks ago I started trying a few things. This post is a quick explanation on how they went.

1. Switch from Google to Duck Duck Go for search

I give this a mixed review.  The results seem to be just as good as Google, or better. This is probably biased by my tendency to search for technical things which is DDG's strongest ability.

My first reaction was fairly negative towards it's UI.  The links and URLS on the results page have less contrast so I had a harder time scanning them. Now that I am used to the interface, it is less of an issue. Here are some other annoyances and things I miss from Google:

  1. Lack of AutoComplete - There is no autocomplete when searching via chrome's URL bar or on the site itself.  I miss this.  To be clear, I don't miss Google Instant search. I'll be 90% of my searching is through the URL bar.
  2. Missing Some Verticals - I'm in the habit of quickly searching google for terms that will bring up Google News results.  I find this really helpful for getting up to speed on developing stories. DDG just doesn't have this. 

I've also tweaked my settings list a little bit.  I've turned on 0-click search and changed the width from 'Wide' to normal.

I'm sticking with DDG dispite the small annoyances.  I can always toss !g in front of a query to get Google results.  It seems that in general DDG doesn't return results as quickly as Google, but I am able to find what I am looking for a little bit more quickly.

2. Trying to use Reddit via SubReddits

My experience using Reddit by subscribing to subreddits has mostly been positive.  Essentially, I unsubscribed from almost all of the major subreddits and instead subscribed to some focused ones like history, web_design, physics and javascript.  The biggest problem I've had is the weighting of various subreddits in my master feed.  It seems like the bigger ones are overrepresented.

The result of this is probably going to be that I try it a bit longer after tweaking what I am subscribed to further.

I don't know that  would recommend it to most people. If you do try it, it's worth unsubscribing from anything news-related. That seems to be the noisiest.

3. Sharing more on Twitter

I did a poor job of this -- but work has been really busy and I haven't done as much reading as usual.  We'll see how this goes moving forward.

A Week of Tech Trials

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I'd hate to get into a rut, so I am going to give a few new things a try this week.  Here they are:

1. Switch from Google to DuckDuckGo for Search

I had tried to do this in the past, but was turned off primarily by the design of the search results page. I had a much harder time scanning it than the Google results page.

This time, I am going to give it another shot.  I started a few days ago and made some setting changes to tune the appearance and functionality to my preferences.  Here is what I changed:

0-click box: off

Redirect: Off

Color: Light Blue
Size: Medium
Width: Wide
Placement: Left
Link Font: Arial!!
Underline: On
Text Font: Arial

Highlighting: Off
Feedback: Off

So far I have really enjoyed DDG with these changes. It is noticeably slower than Google, but makes up for it through additional features like the "!bang commands" and non-paginated results.

2. Try using Reddit.com again - this time with sub-reddits.

It seems that as the popularity of a site grows, the quality of its content decreases. When reddit first started, it was like a general interest Hacker News. Now, it is a cat photo sharing site.

I heard that it can be really cool if you take the time to create an account and subscribe to smaller subreddits instead of the giant popular ones. I set this up today before the football games and I am pleased so far.

3. Remember to share things on Twitter

When I come across something good, I usually remember  to email it to people I think will find it interesting. This has resulted in some great conversations. Hopefully by also sharing some of these things on Twitter, I'll get to hear more from others.

That's it! We'll see how it goes.

Christmas at the Lake

This year we spent Christmas at my parents' lake house. This is usually fun to start with, but we got about 9 inches of snow which made it amazing.  We mostly stayed inside and played cards, but also made it outside to Kayak, run with Wally and build a snow boat.

Lazy Friday in Milwaukee

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Fun little gallery I put together this morning. It runs on jquery and webkit transitions. It was super-easy (15 min).  I can't wait until transitions are more widely supported.