Monday, October 31, 2011

Editra - The Text Editor Written in Python for Tiger

Open source software projects make me feel useless. Reading through their forums and blogs brings me to posts about code and requests for code, and I don't know how to write code! So I decided this would change, that I'd learn a computer language hopefully enough to where I could contribute something in the not-too-faraway future. Since the consensus is that Python is the best language to learn first, I'm gonna take a crack at that.

Now I just need a text editor.

And, no, TextEdit isn't what I'm talking about. I want a full-featured text editor that's extensible and can come with all the bells and whistles if I want them. Also, current development for Tiger would be nice.

Lo and behold, there is such a text editor, and it's called Editra. It's cross-platform and appropriately enough written in Python. It has a tabbed interface and all the basic features of a real text editor, like syntax highlighting, etc., and it also comes with a plug-in system for extending the features further. And did I mention it still supports Tiger?

For another text editor that's cross platform, you could also try the java written jEdit. And though TextWrangler and Smultron dropped Tiger development, you can still download old versions (here for TextWrangler, here for Smultron).

At this point, though, I'm going with the Python app. And if you want to test the waters in learn a computer language yourself, check out this Youtube playlist - A lot of great instructional videos.

Monday, October 10, 2011

SSD Performance on Various 'Books

Check out these videos showing SSDs in action on iBooks and Powerbooks of yore.

First one is MintPPC Linux booting on an iBook G3 800Mhz:

Next one shows web browsing performance on a clamshell iBook:

Also, boot time comparison between a clamshell 466 MHz SSD vs. a Powerbook 1.67 GHz HDD:


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spaces Alternatives for Tiger

I've never been a big fan of virtual desktops. They've been a longtime feature on Linux, though not on Tiger, so when Leopard came out with Spaces, I was indifferent. However, I stumbled across a couple of virtual desktop applications for Tiger and decided to take a look at all the fun I was missing.

The first I tried was VirtueDesktops:

Development was halted with the arrival of Leopard, but it still works on Panther and Tiger systems. On my Tiger install it seemed stable but incomplete. The preferences weren't as intuitive as I'm used to, and there appeared to be a pager feature that I couldn't get working. But for simple desktop switching (with hotkey support) it worked well.

The second Spaces alternative is Desktop Manager:

Development seems also to have halted, but it's very polished. Transitions are the same as VirtueDesktops, slide and cube, etc. However, Desktop Manager has a pager in the menubar for quick switching with the mouse, hotkey support, and also has an optional pager for the desktop.

All in all, I liked these little apps, but it's not enough to convince me to switch to multiple desktops. My word processing / browsing / email are so wrapped up in each other I like having the whole mess of them all on one screen. But if you want a little more organization in your life, go for it.