Spring cleaning

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks clearing through roughly 10,000 emails which adds up to more than 1.5Gb accumulated from over three years of borderline obsessive pack-ratting. Next up is categorising my blog posts and rating and tagging over 3,000 songs and a similar amount of photos.

Meta information is becoming more and more important and, by extension, useful to me. Finding things quickly is just one outcome. Being able to put together auto-updating Smart Playlists in iTunes (for example, 20 songs that I’ve rated with five stars but not listened to in six months) or Smart Albums in iPhoto (again, as an example, family pictures from Christmas) are simple examples of what can be achieved but using these in conjunction with Automator can really demonstrate the power of meta information.

Of course, it’s a lot easier if you’re disciplined and keep on top of things!

My toolkit

I’ve been scouring the blogs over the past few days trying to see what I missed at Refresh Edinburgh last week. One thing that caught my eye was a link to Meri Williams and her essential toolkit for a web developer. As it turned out this was more to do with project management than the software slant I first expected.

While I could make do with just a shell prompt and my wits, there are obviously oodles of programs out there to make my day-to-day life easier.

Chained to a PC in the office I use:

When at home and playing my MBP:

  • SvnX to access the Subversion repositories in the office
  • skEdit as my editor of choice
  • Transmit to make up for the deficiencies in the aforementioned text editor
  • Seashore for my relatively basic image manipulation requirements

Of course I’m definitely not saying that either of these combinations are anywhere near perfect, but they work for me at this moment in time. I find that the emotional attachment to software some people can forge is very strange to say the least. I’ve noticed this ever since the full-blown religious wars erupted at university over the merits of emacs, pico and vi.

Impending boredom

I enjoyed my usual Saturday routine yesterday: Soccer AM, Football Focus, the Fighting Talk podcast and this week went along to the Hearts Kilmarnock match because I hadn’t had enough football for the day. Plus it was a good opportunity to catch up with some friends I hadn’t see in a while.

At some point during the day it hit me – barring Le Tour, this Summer will see a dearth of sporting events. The Egg-chasing World Cup doesn’t start until September, t’Cricket World Cup will have long finished. It’s an odd numbered year so there is no major football competition. What am I to do?

I’m giving consideration to following up on a promise to brush-up on my languages or maybe even learn a new one. Early candidates are Ruby or Python.

What do I do?

When someone asks me what the difference is between a web designer and a web developer, I usually say that developers are responsible for all of the stuff you don’t see on a website (unless you’re a code snooper, and even then most work approaching any level of genius is hidden away behind the scenes in some PHP function or other).

This lack of recognition of web developers seems to be changing though. Recently we’ve had BarCampScotland and both the Highland Fling and Refresh Edinburgh are on this week. Then there are the DADI awards at the end of June, the results of which should prove to be quite interesting.