Links for 2011-7-14 through 2011-7-31

Links for 2011-7-14 through 2011-7-31:

  • Cocos2D Tutorial – Dynamically Coloring Sprites [Brandon Trebitowski,] Have you ever seen a game (such as Tiny Tower) that contains similar sprites that only vary by certain attributes (coloring, shading, accessories, etc…)? I would often wonder how long it would take the artists to create each permutation of these sprites. After discovering that you can call a method on a CCSprite called setColor, I realized how most of this customization is done in code.
  • Muddying the Budget Waters With Social Security Many people misunderstand how the program operates. Payroll taxes stream into the trust fund that is used to pay current retirees’ benefits. When there is a surplus, that money is invested in a special type of Treasury bond that pays interest to the trust fund. At the end of last year, the trust fund had about $2.6 trillion. And though last year was the first year since 1983 that the fund paid out more than it received in tax revenue, it still continued to grow because of the interest accrued — and it is estimated to continue to grow through 2022.

    Since the money in the trust fund is held in Treasury securities, taxes collected are essentially being lent to the federal government to pay for whatever it wants (and this allows the government to borrow less from the public).

  • The Cult of Centricism We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

    So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

    The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president.

  • Revamp of a game [Yuchen Wang, ClingMarks]
  • Cocos2D and ARC [Jerrod Putman, Tiny Tim Games]
  • How To Use Custom Classes With Core Data Without Fear [Doug Sjoquist , Sunetos]
  • User Testing in the Wild: Joe’s First Computer Encounter « Boriss’ Blog
  • Make a backup copy of the MacBook Air USB Software Reinstall Drive | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog Since it doesn't come with an optical drive, giving MacBook Air buyers a DVD of the operating system wouldn't be very helpful. That's why Apple's lightest laptop comes with the USB Software Reinstall Drive — a very small white USB drive. Sometimes USB flash drives are referred to as "Thumb Drives," but this one is more like the size of a baby's finger.

Posted by Postilicious

Links for 2011-04-05 through 2011-04-14

Links for 2011-04-05 through 2011-04-14:

Posted by Postilicious

Links for 2011-01-16

Links for 2011-01-16:

Posted by Postilicious

The Hit List

The Hit List is the latest entry in the crowded field of GTD software for the Mac. The most notable thing about The Hit List is its beautiful, elegant user interface, simplicity, and speed. It has become one of my favorite applications because it just “feels right”.

The Hit List.jpg

The interface looks just like a note pad. To create a new task, you simply hit return and start typing. Despite the apparent simplicity, it has some sophisticated features such as sub-tasks, which can be created as an outline, and time estimates. The Hit List can sync with iCal, and they promise an iPhone app, although it isn’t available yet.

The Hit List was the main reason I bought the MacHeist bundle; I prefer to think of it as a $10 discount on The Hit List with the other applications as a bonus.

Before I got The Hit List, I was using Things, which is also a powerful & sophisticated task management application. Although Things also has an attractive user interface, after using The Hit List, it just feels kind of clunky. Instead of hitting return to create a new task, you hit Cmd-N, which brings up a quick entry window.

Things Quick Entry.jpg

Things also lacks the outline structure with sub-tasks. One current advantage is that there’s also a Things app for the iPhone. Unfortunately they have to sync on the local network.

Update: It was pointed out on Twitter that you can create a new task in Things by simply hitting the spacebar, which creates a task inline without the popup.

TextMate Rocks

I’ve used BBEdit for years, but TextMate blows it away (except for one thing). TextMate’s bundles and plugins really make it shine. The only thing I miss in BBEdit is the FTP browser, which lets me open files directly from an FTP server, rather than using a separate FTP client.

CiarĂ¡n Walsh offers some great TextMate tips in his blog, including some features I wasn’t aware of. In his latest entry, he discusses the HTML bundle.

One unique feature of TextMate is that bundle commands can interact with the selection intelligently. For example, ^< (shift-ctrl-<) with no selection will insert opening and closing <p> tags with the first 'p' selected. If you change it to something else, the closing tag will reflect it. As far as I know, there's no way to do anything like that in BBEdit. If only TextMate added FTP support, it would be perfect.