Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The time has finally come to open source one of Chimoosoft's largest and oldest projects: Terrabrowser. Terrabrowser has a long history with the first version appearing back in 2003. I have unfortunately not had as much time to work on the project as I would have liked, and hence the code base for Terrabrowser has more or less languished for the last three or four years.
Since it was (at one time) an interesting project which a lot of people were excited about, it seems only fair to release it as open source in the hopes that some other programmers will have time to improve the software. It would be nice to see the GPS waypoint/tracklog/route support improved, improved GPX file support, and possibly the addition of other mapping sources such as Google Maps or Yahoo Maps. In many ways, Terrabrowser was one of the first Mac equivalents of currently popular (but then unavailable) software such as Google Earth. I feel that the product had a lot of potential, so it has been somewhat sad to see it live by the wayside as other products have overtaken it. Let's hope this gives the old boy a fresh breath of life!
Friday, May 2, 2008
Finally got around to open sourcing some Chimoosoft projects. So far, Kissphrase, Speech Toggle, and Simple Search. If you have the interest and expertise, feel free to head on over to the open source project page and have a look. Note that the code in some of these projects is quite old and hence isn't the cleanest bit in the world.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Until recently, the options available for dictation software on Mac OS X were severely lacking. The most popular option was a product called iListen by MacSpeech which was based on the Philips speech recognition engine. Although this product worked, it had severe limitations, crashed frequently, and behaved in general more like a Mac OS 9 application than it should have.
Introduced at MacWorld 2008, the new MacSpeech Dictate which is based on the popular Windows Dragon software offers a far improved speech recognition experience for Mac users. The training is quick, the recognition is accurate and fast, and it even works with the built-in microphone on computers such as the MacBook Pro (which the author is using to dictate this review). This is a huge advantage as it enables the user to quickly dictate a paragraph here or there with a single mouse click and no need to get out a separate microphone.
Although the product still has a few rough edges and is currently missing the ability to correct dictated text via voice, it represents a huge step forward and easily integrates into your everyday workflow. Note that an Intel Mac is required for this software to work - it will not function on PowerPC (G3, G4, G5) Macs. Next time you don't feel like typing out a lengthy e-mail, why not launch Dictate instead and use your voice?
Today I'm offering up a recommendation for one of the most interesting speeches I've heard in years. Jeff Hawkins, the founder of Palm and inventor of the Treo, presents a keynote at the RSA 2008 conference about the mind's technique for processing and storing sensory information. How does a person (or a computer) tell the difference between a picture of a cat and a dog?
Yes, I know, he probably doesn't have an iPhone, but we'll forgive him for this due to his past!
His speech is especially interesting because it's not too technical for the average person to understand; even a child in grade school should find it intriguing. If you're watching this on a Mac, as I assume you are, you might want to install Flip4Mac (review) first to more easily view the WMV stream. A Flash stream is also available. You may also want to check out his company's website, Numenta and even download the research platform for the Mac.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Finally finished migrating all OS X Picks software reviews from the main Chimoosoft site to the Cocoa Musings blog. This should provide an easier way for people to post comments about the reviews and perhaps make them easier to find as well. If you notice any broken links, let me know.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I came across an interesting article today called "Inside the Objective-C Runtime" (see also part two). This article does a decent job explaining some of the benefits of Objective-C with Cocoa programming on OS X as compared with other object oriented languages. The article is a little dated (six years old), but most of the information is still relevant.
This led to a search for more articles touting the benefits of Objective-C. In "Objective-C: Dynamite!," the author begins with a relevant quote which should resonate with most Objective-C programmers:
"Objective-C is the result of adding object facilities to C with the goal of making programmers more productive. The result differs greatly from C++, which adds objects to C without making computers less efficient: quite a different goal." [PC Week, November 3, 1997]
Later on, for the humorously inclined:
"If a person on the street asks you for a flump, and you don't know how to respond, do you exit with a core dump?"