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Posts Tagged ‘Applications’

TellyBox 1.4, Twitter, Scheduling .. plus the coolest icon

posted by Duncan at 3:35 pm on March 22nd, 2009

[note] if you are updating and have the current app in your dock, you may need to remove it, and then re-add it again to get the new icon to appear straight away

I’ve just released a new version of TellyBox, version 1.4. This version pulls in all the new features from sister app RadioAunty, plus a few news ones specific to TellyBox.

If you didn’t know, TellyBox is a Mac app that allows you to watch live and catchup BBC Television (Uk users only I’m afraid). It uses the BBC iPlayer to actually display the telly, but wraps it all up into a native Mac application.

TellyApp screenshot

Like I mentioned above, new features include Twitter support and scheduling as per RadioAunty. I recommend reading this post to get more information on these. As well as them, the new features specific to TellyBox are:

  1. I have removed the default channel entry from the preferences. The app now just remembers what channel you last watched.
  2. The close button, and zoom buttons (red and green) now work.
  3. A brand new app icon (designed by David Wilson)

I’m really pleased with the icon. I know David spent a lot of time designing it, and for a first application icon, I think it’s awesome. I also knew the effect I wanted. I really liked the idea of the icon being a mini telly showing you exactly what you are watching in the main screen. It seems Mac icons can make or break an app, so I’m hoping this one can only help.

It’s actually quite a simple effect to achieve. It’s just about building layers. I use CGWindowListCreateImage to take a screen grab of what’s playing over time. When I have a new grab, I then construct the dock icon, using the grab at the bottom, then a version of the app icon with a transparent screen to give the glass effect, and finally the channel logo. If you minimize the app, or change windows using spaces, then the icon will change to the BBC test card.

Download TellyBox from the project page on Github, or if you already have the app installed, then you should get a request to update automagically.

Experiments in Cocoa #1 RadioAunty

posted by Duncan at 9:47 pm on December 12th, 2008

[UPDATE] I’ve updated the app to now use the new higher quality live streams. Yay, no more RealPlayer for the majority.

I’ve seem to have spent a lot of time reading about Cocoa without actually building anything of substance. So to put a change to that I have built RadioAunty.

1. RadioAunty – This is a Cocoa Application that lets you listen to the radio, BBC radio, on your desktop. You can view the current schedule and select listen again shows, as well as simply changing the station via the menu bar and via the Dock. You can also set preferences to decide which should be your default Station to start with, and whether you would like to receive updates to the application when they are available (very important). If you have listened to BBC radio via Safari, then RadioAunty should work just fine for you.

Download RadioAunty from it’s project site


There are now many *.frameworks that come as part of the Apple Developer Tools and I found it pretty daunting to start with. So to make life easier for myself, I decided to start small and build bigger as I go along. This is why I started with the simple idea of RadioAunty. Oh and it’s Leopard only because it seemed silly to have to learn old ways of doing things as well as new.

RadioAunty is at a high level not that complex. It basically embeds an already existing webpage into a desktop app. It seemed like an ideal starting point. Once I had got that working (Thanks Apple, it takes about 3 lines of code!), the next thing was to make use of other classes and functionality to actually learn something. The app as it stands uses only uses these Cocoa classes (I’ve left the boring ones out):

I’ve used @property quite a lot (properties are a bit like Ruby :attr_accessor) to automagically create getter and setters. I have also use key-value bindings, which once I understood them were amazing, and allow you to chop huge chunks of code from your source. I use a stations.plist to store the radio station data, but hope to pull that from the web in the future, meaning that it could play any radio station and not just the BBC’s. I also use delegation a lot whenever I can.

As I only started the app on Tuesday, I’ll continue making it more polished, that and I have a few other ideas, but I wanted to get something out for people to use as quickly as possible, so first main thing to add (apart from the radio) was auto-updating. This is taken care of by Sparkle 1.5b6.

Sparkle was super simple to implement. Their wiki documentation worked great, and I was amazed that something I always think is cool, and take for granted was so smooth to implement in this application. If you’re building OSX applications then this should surely be a must.

I have a few other projects in the pipeline, that incorporate more frameworks for me to learn, so stay posted. I’m progressing well with is an app called LeaveFrom, that does what is says on the tin really. It uses Core-Data which again had a bit of a learning curve, but I’m getting on ok. Can my old brain take all this new fun information.

SpamSieve saves my sanity

posted by Duncan at 10:42 pm on November 22nd, 2006

Now spam is just a fact of email, and up until now my Mail‘s apps junk mail filter used to be pretty good, so much so that I never really thought about it. The problem started a few months ago when spam started slipping though the junk mail filter and into my inbox. I guess the cretins that manage these spam-gun machines that send out this crap found a new avenue to exploit.

So I hunted around and found a possible app that could improve things called SpamSieve. I’ve had this running for a few weeks now (there is a free 30 day trial period), and I have to say it has been fantastic! The amount of spam in my inbox is more or less nothing now, amazing.

SpamSieve adds bayesian filtering and runs instead of Mail’s junk mail filter. You start by giving it a bunch of emails that are junk and then a bunch of emails that are good and it monitors them, then it continues by monitoring everything that comes in and starts to build up a knowledge of what’s right and wrong. This means that even though it is behaving well now, it will hopefully get better. Here’s a little example of the stats since I started using the app:

Filtered Mail
153 Good Messages
336 Spam Messages (69%)
32 Spam Messages Per Day
SpamSieve Accuracy
5 False Positives
14 False Negatives (74%)
96.1% Correct
258 Good Messages
402 Spam Messages (61%)
30,121 Total Words
263 Blocklist Rules
610 Whitelist Rules
Showing Statistics Since
12/11/2006 11:27

So you can see that it’s 96.1% accurate at the moment which I have to say it good enough for me for the time being. The app also comes with great documentation and is able to run with all the popular email client. I’d be interested to here about other people’s success with this app or others.

Password Manager and Form Filler for Mac OS X

posted by Duncan at 11:46 pm on November 9th, 2006

I was getting a little concerned with my overuse of the same password when signing up to new and exciting websites. I’m sure I’m not the only person who used the same one? Anyway, not any more.

I initially did some research and the favorite looked to be Wallet. That was until they decided to take my money and not send me a license key, that and not reply to any of my emails. Shame on you!

The product that won for me was 1passwd. Features include:

  • Multiple Identities
  • OS X Keychain integration
  • Generate and enter strong passwords with one click

It just does everything I need, and it is being actively developed (They just released a new version). That and it’s only £15. If you’d like to start using strong passwords for all your web accounts without having to remember them all, this is the app.


posted by Duncan at 4:31 pm on February 5th, 2006

Some people have created a full-screen terminal app of the 1970′s, complete with green screen, delay and monitor distortion. So cool. Only for OS X mind you.

Google Earth for OSX now available

posted by Duncan at 9:54 pm on January 11th, 2006

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a copy for a while now on OSX Tiger and I have to say even after previously trying it on a PC, it’s amazing. It seems to be even better on a Mac but I think I’m just being biased. So anyway you can download Google Earth on OSX here.

Safari with Omniweb style thumbs

posted by Duncan at 10:43 pm on September 27th, 2005

This Safari plugin is the king of all plugins. Thumbnails in the side bar a-la Omniweb.

Pimp My Safari

Just so cool. I’m not sure how long this plugin has been around but I’ve only just spotted it.

Google go satellite in London

posted by Duncan at 11:04 pm on June 29th, 2005

This is a quick post just to say that Google Maps have started to provide close satellite shots of the UK. So far personally speaking, I can only see my own flat in London, oh and check out the fact the shot was taken when a plane was flying over head. Also, because the shot is taken at a slight angle the actual position of our flat is slighly out on the satellite view. I can’t yet see my mums house down in Dorset, but hey they getting there. Man Google so rule the world right now.

Update: They have also released their API to the public at last. You can get an API key here. The documentation is here.

Chess, Maths and imagery

posted by Duncan at 11:42 am on May 20th, 2005

This is a great example of Maths creating wonderful visuals. Its a Java based artificial intelligence chess program that uses visuals to display the computer’s thought process. This is then sketched on screen as it plays.


Some of the visuals it creates are loverly. Thanks to Miles for the link.

Its all in the mind

posted by Duncan at 1:46 pm on February 16th, 2005

This is a great page from Kwok-Leung Lee that just shows a bunch of graphical images that trick the eye. Infact I actually found some of them uncomfortable to stare at.

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